MIAMI (CBSMiami) – The largest study to date confirms the COVID vaccine is safe for people being treated for cancer or who have finished cancer treatment.
Dan Burkus has been receiving treatment for prostate cancer while trying to avoid COVID-19.
“If you have cancer, you have a compromised immune system,” he said. “So I was very happy to get the vaccine.”
Some cancer patients have had concerns about possible reactions to the vaccine, especially while having treatment, including chemotherapy, radiation and immunotherapy.
Now the largest study to date is providing even more reassurance.
“What the study showed was, in fact, cancer patients are no different than non-cancer patients and how they react to these vaccines and that it really it absolutely is safe,” said Dr. Eric Horwitz.
Dr. Horwitz is the lead author of the research that looked at more than 1,700 people who received the Pfizer vaccine.
People undergoing active cancer treatment or who had completed treatment experienced common short-term side effects such as pain at the injection site, fever, headache and fatigue at similar rates as those without cancer.
“People who got all different therapies and everyone did well,” explained Horwitz. “So if you need even extra information to help in in your decision to be vaccinated, hopefully this will help.”
Burkus got a COVID booster in September.
“In addition to the vaccine, we practice the measures of masking in public places. We do keep our social bubbles, so to speak relatively small,” he said.
He’s been in a clinical trial for the past two years and right now his cancer is undetectable.
About 18% of patients receiving the vaccine in the study were undergoing active treatment.