Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 Vaccine Appears Safe In Cancer Pati
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A study supports the short-term safety of the Pfizer-BioNTech mRNA COVID-19 vaccine in patients with cancer being treated with immune-checkpoint inhibitors. Researchers report on 134 adults with cancer receiving immune-checkpoint inhibitor therapy alone (87%) or in combination with chemotherapy (13%) who received two doses of the vaccine.

As previously reported in other populations, more systemic and local side effects were observed after the second dose of vaccine than after the first dose. The most common local side effects were injection-site pain, rash and swelling and the most common systemic side effects were muscle pain, fatigue, headache, fever, chills, gastrointestinal complications and flu-like symptoms.

None of these side effects required hospital care or any other special intervention. The rate of systemic side effects was similar in patients treated with immune-checkpoint inhibitors alone or with chemotherapy. "Most importantly," write the researchers, there were no new immune-related side effects or exacerbation of existing immune-related side effects.

"Considering the high mortality of patients with cancer who contract COVID-19, which can be as high as 40% in some patient populations, the benefits of vaccination seem to outweigh the potential harms," Researchers conclude in their paper. "Although further studies are needed to determine if these data are also applicable to the other COVID-19 vaccines, our findings might provide some reassurance for their use in patients being treated with immune checkpoint inhibitors," they add.