Cookies on this website

We use cookies to ensure that we give you the best experience on our website. If you click 'Accept all cookies' we'll assume that you are happy to receive all cookies and you won't see this message again. If you click 'Reject all non-essential cookies' only necessary cookies providing core functionality such as security, network management, and accessibility will be enabled. Click 'Find out more' for information on how to change your cookie settings.

A large population-level assessment reveals third dose COVID-19 vaccination is effective for most patients with cancer, but effectiveness is lower than in the general population, particularly in patients who have undergone recent chemotherapy and those with lymphoma.

The UK Coronavirus Cancer Programme, led by Dr Lennard Lee (Department of Oncology), has undertaken a population-scale real-world evaluation of the third dose COVID-19 vaccination booster programme in 361,098 UK patients with cancer. Breakthrough infection, symptomatic infection, COVID-19-associated hospitalisation and death were compared between the cancer cohort and the general population.

The study, published in the European Journal of Cancer, found that vaccine effectiveness was increased in the cancer and population cohorts following the third vaccine dose, but that effectiveness was lower in patients with cancer compared to the general population.

Comparing between patients with different types of cancer, vaccine effectiveness against breakthrough and symptomatic infections was higher following third dose boosters in those with solid organ malignancies compared to patients with haematological cancers, and protection against symptomatic COVID-19 was lowest in patients with lymphoma.

A recent cancer diagnosis or being treated in the last 12 months with chemotherapy or radiotherapy were also associated with lower vaccine effectiveness against breakthrough and symptomatic COVID-19 infections.

The findings from this study highlight the ongoing susceptibility of cancer patients to COVID-19 and would support additional measures to protect this population.

See also “Population-scale study highlights ongoing risk of COVID-19 in some cancer patients despite vaccination”

Similar Stories

Population-scale study highlights ongoing risk of COVID-19 in some cancer patients despite vaccination

COVID-19 vaccination is effective in most cancer patients, but the level of protection against COVID-19 infection, hospitalisation and death offered by the vaccine is less than in the general population and vaccine effectiveness wanes more quickly.

Strong immune responses in myeloma patients after two doses of COVID vaccine

A study of 214 patients with myeloma finds that 93% of them produced T cells as well as antibodies to the SARS-CoV-2 spike protein after two doses of a COVID vaccine.

Fewer cases of children’s cancer picked up during COVID pandemic

An Oxford study of cancer in children and young adults in England has found that fewer patients were diagnosed during the COVID-19 pandemic, but cancer diagnosis following admission to intensive care was higher.