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In study, cancer patients respond very well to COVID-19 vaccine

People with cancer face a higher risk of hospitalization and death from COVID-19, and experts recommend they get vaccinated.

But data on the effectiveness of immunization in patients undergoing cancer treatment has been lacking.

A new study in the journal the Lancet Oncology tries to change that.

Of almost 600 adult patients with solid tumors who received the Moderna vaccine, the vast majority developed coronavirus antibody levels comparable to patients without cancer.

That held true regardless of whether they were being treated with chemotherapy, immunotherapy or both.

Of the 7-16% who did not reach those levels, half showed an immune reaction to the SARS-CoV-2 spike protein, suggesting a booster shot might be enough to put them over the top.

The study reports only a handful of vaccine-related adverse effects and no deaths. 

Nicholas Gerbis was a senior field correspondent for KJZZ from 2016 to 2024.