Cancer Patients Should Be Included in COVID-19 Vaccine Trials

By Lou Portero - Last Updated: November 1, 2021

According to the American Society of Clinical Oncology (ASCO) statement, cancer patients and survivors should be included in COVID-19 vaccine trials unless there is a safety justification for excluding them. ASCO and other professional organizations currently recommend COVID-19 vaccination for patients with cancer, except where vaccination is specifically contraindicated.

The statement includes four recommendations on the inclusion of individuals with cancer in COVID-19 vaccine trials.

1- Existing and future trials should only exclude cancer patients and survivors or immunocompromised if there is a “specific and credible risk of harm” from participation.

2- Vaccine manufacturers and trial sponsors should partner with oncology practices, cancer centers, and academic medical centers to recruit patients with cancer and ensure that “sufficient numbers” of cancer patients from “diverse populations and age groups” are being enrolled.

3- Government agencies should “encourage and incentivize vaccine manufacturers to include patients with cancer in existing and future COVID-19 vaccine trials.”

4- Public health agencies and research organizations should compile and analyze real-world data on vaccine effectiveness in cancer patients. This could help make up for the underrepresentation of cancer patients in prior vaccine trials.

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