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Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 Vaccine Safe, Effective in Cancer Patients

Pronounced lag in antibody production after the first dose found versus noncancer controls

By Physician’s Briefing Staff | July 13, 2021

The severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) BNT162b2 vaccine (Pfizer-BioNTech) appears to be safe and achieves satisfactory serologic status in patients with cancer, according to a study published online July 8 in JAMA Oncology.

Tal Goshen-Lago, Ph.D., from Rambam Health Care Campus in Haifa, Israel, and colleagues evaluated the efficacy and safety of the BNT162b2 vaccine in 232 patients undergoing treatment for cancer and 261 age-matched health care workers who served as controls.

The researchers found that after the first dose of BNT162b2 vaccine, 29 percent of cancer patients were seropositive versus 84 percent of controls. The seropositive rate reached 86 percent in the cancer patients after the second dose. There was reduced immunogenicity seen in patients undergoing chemotherapy (odds ratio, 0.41). The rate of documented absolute leukopenia reached 39 percent in seronegative patients. There were two cases of COVID-19 in the patient cohort immediately after the first dose. Adverse events were similar to trials of mostly healthy individuals.

"Future real-world data are warranted to determine the long-term efficacy of the vaccine with regard to type of anticancer treatment," the authors write.

One author disclosed financial ties to Pfizer.

Abstract/Full Text


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