New guidance on COVID-19 vaccination: How it impacts people with cancer

The COVID-19 vaccine schedule recently changed. How does this impact people with cancer? Here is what you need to know.

What has not changed: Adults who are moderately or severely immunocompromised should get four vaccine doses (three primary doses and a booster shot). This includes many people with cancer.

What has changed:

Shorter interval for booster shots.

  • Adults who are moderately to severely immunocompromised should get a COVID-19 booster shot three months after their third dose, instead of the previous interval of five months.

No waiting period after monoclonal antibodies.

Third dose for immunocompromised children.

  • Children ages 5-11 who are moderately or severely immunocompromised should get a third primary dose of the COVID-19 vaccine 28 days after their second shot. 

Preference for mRNA vaccines over Johnson and Johnson.

New 8-week interval does not apply to immunocompromised patients.

  • The CDC recently announced a new 8-week interval option between first and second shots for some people ages 12 and older (especially males ages 12-39 who may be at highest risk of myocarditis, a rare complication affecting the heart).
  • Most people should follow the original 3- or 4-week interval between first and second doses, including: people who are immunocompromised, adults ages 65 and older, children under 12, and other people who need rapid protection related to community transmission or risk of severe disease.
People with cancer may have questions about COVID-19 vaccines. Our upcoming FAQ offers evidenced-based answers.
Learn more in our COVID-19 and Cancer Resource Center

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