The National Comprehensive Cancer Network updates guidelines for COVID-19 vaccination

September 22 2022

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The National Comprehensive Cancer Network has updated its recommendations for COVID-19 vaccination for cancer patients.

The revised guidelines, available online at nccn.org/covid-19, include information on bivalent vaccines and the protection of children with cancer, according to an NCCN press release.

A man holding a needle and a bottle

“Our panel of top experts meets frequently to examine and organize all the latest research into a clear, comprehensive resource for people with cancer, their loved ones, and their health teams,” Robert W. Carlson, MD, NCCN CEO said in a press release. “We have expanded our committee for this latest update to include a focus on pediatric patients. Some of the senior officials in pediatric healthcare have joined multidisciplinary physicians from all NCCN member organizations, which also included expertise in vaccine development and delivery, infectious diseases, cancer management, and ethics medical”.

Robert W. Carlson, MD

Robert W. Carlson

Additions to the NCCN Advisory Committee guidance on COVID-19 vaccination and pre-exposure prophylaxis include:

  • The Committee supports the recent approval of a bivalent booster for immunosuppressed individuals who received an initial series of three doses and boosters under previous recommendations and who are 12 years of age or older (for Pfizer) or who are 18 years of age or older (for Moderna). However, he cautioned that data is still awaited on the efficacy of the bivalent booster in immunocompromised individuals.
  • The mRNA vaccine of choice is Moderna for immunosuppressed people between the ages of 6 months and 17 years.
  • Preliminary data show that cases of myocarditis are very rare, but relatively more common in adolescents and young adults aged 16 years or older. Most patients recover completely.

“It is especially important for eligible family members and caregivers to make sure they are vaccinated as well, given that immunocompromised children are under 12 years old. [years] or if she weighs less than 40 kg is unable to receive monoclonal antibodies for protection,” Tina Keo Tan, MD, Infectious disease physician at Ann & Robert H. Lurie Children’s Hospital in Chicago and Northwestern Medicine and co-chair of the NCCN, said in the press release.

According to the committee, vaccinated cancer patients should continue to wear masks, practice social distancing, and follow other non-drug recommendations to prevent COVID-19.