Hollings to host live Q&A on the COVID-19 vaccine in cancer patients

February 19, 2021
Collage of vaccine shot being given into arm, Covid virus, and man wearing mask with text that says Covid 19 Vaccination & Cancer Patients, a panel discussion for patients, survivors, and caregivers on March 4 at 5 p.m. EST
MUSC experts will share COVID-19 vaccine recommendations and information for cancer patients, survivors and caregivers during the March 4 virtual panel.

On March 4 at 5 p.m., MUSC Hollings Cancer Center will host a virtual panel discussion focused on the safety, effectiveness and availability of the COVID-19 vaccine as it relates to cancer patients.

The panel, which will be moderated by Hollings Director Raymond N. DuBois, M.D., Ph.D., will offer recommendations and important information for people currently undergoing cancer treatment, cancer survivors and caregivers. Panelists will address common questions, including:

  • Whether the vaccine has been tested in those receiving active treatment for their cancer.
  • Current vaccine eligibility at MUSC Health.
  • What to expect at a vaccine appointment.
  • How to schedule an appointment.
  • Whether there are any clinical factors that may require delaying a vaccine appointment.

The panel will also cover recent guidelines from the National Comprehensive Cancer Network (PDF), which recommend that all people in active cancer treatment receive the COVID-19 vaccine, with some advice to consider regarding immunosuppression and timing.

Participants can register to join the event on Zoom, or they may watch the event live on Hollings’ Facebook page. Registration is free, and the discussion is open to the public.

Panelists include David Mahvi, M.D., chief of the Oncology Integrated Center of Clinical Excellence at MUSC Health; Danielle Scheurer, M.D., chief quality officer for the MUSC Health System and professor in the Department of Medicine; and Michael Sweat, Ph.D., epidemiologist and director of the MUSC Center for Global Health. The event will begin with a prepared presentation followed by a live Q&A, offering viewers the opportunity to have their general vaccine questions answered.

“Vaccination against COVID-19 is a complex, confusing and evolving situation for everyone, but this is especially true for cancer patients, survivors and caretakers. We understand these groups may have specific concerns about how the vaccine could impact cancer treatment and the safety of themselves and their loved ones,” said DuBois. “We hope this panel will be an additional way to offer some clarity and relief during these unprecedented times.”

In general, Hollings is encouraging all cancer patients to receive the vaccine as it becomes available to them, as people with cancer are at high risk for serious complications from COVID-19 infection. There is no reason to believe the COVID-19 vaccine is unsafe in this population, and the benefits of protection outweigh any potential risks.

While the panelists are happy to answer general questions during the live event, patients who have specific concerns about the vaccine as it relates to their cancer treatment should speak with a member of their care team to determine the best timing for their vaccination.