Dialog Box

Rare Cancers Australia

Are COVID-19 vaccines safe for immunosuppressed people?

Living with cancer can be confusing, complex and challenging. Living with cancer in a pandemic can elevate this as uncertainty is compounded by constantly changing risks and advice for you and your loved ones.

To help address questions and concerns, here is what we currently know about COVID-19 vaccines and immunosuppressed people: 

  • The Pfizer vaccine is safe for immunosuppressed and immunocompromised people.

    A large study was completed in the US in July 2021 showing the real world clinical effectiveness of COVID-19 vaccination in solid organ transplant recipients, with an almost 80% reduction in the incidence of symptomatic COVID-19 compared with unvaccinated solid organ transplant recipients during the same time.

  • While immunosuppressed people are less likely to produce the same level of immune response once they receive their vaccination, compared to people who are not immunocompromised, the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine has been proven effective and safe.

    Scientists are just looking into if it is necessary for those with weaker immune systems to have an additional booster, for added protection. This research is ongoing and trials are currently being done.

  • Once you get vaccinated, it is particularly important for people with compromised immune systems to act like they have not. In other words, continue to practice precautions for added safety.

    This means you should continue to practice good hand hygiene, physical distancing, staying away from big crowds in small spaces, staying away from people who are unwell, and wearing a mask whenever possible.

It is completely understandable to be cautious and feel hesitant about COVID-19 vaccines. There is a lot of misleading information circulating. That is why it is important to arm yourself with advice from trusted sources like the Australian Government, World Health Organisation, peak and reputable health bodies, and your local GP or medical clinic.

  • Ewen Callaway. (2021) COVID vaccine boosters: the most important questions. Nature 596:7871, 178-180  
  • Williams Winfred W., Ingelfinger Julie R.. (2021) Third Time’s a Charm — Covid-19 Vaccine Hope for Solid-Organ Transplant Recipients. N Engl J Med DOI: 10.1056/NEJMe2112866
  • Hall Victoria G., Ferreira Victor H., Ku Terrance, Ierullo Matthew, Majchrzak-Kita Beata, Chaparro Cecilia, Selzner Nazia, Schiff Jeffrey, McDonald Michael, Tomlinson George, Kulasingam Vathany, Kumar Deepali, Humar Atul. (2021) Randomized Trial of a Third Dose of mRNA-1273 Vaccine in Transplant Recipients. N Engl J Med DOI: 10.1056/NEJMc2111462
  • Saima Aslam, Eric Adler, Kristin Mekeel, Susan J. Little. (2021) Clinical effectiveness of COVID‐19 vaccination in solid organ transplant recipients. Transplant Infectious Disease
  • John A Mackintosh, Marc Lipman, David M Lowe, Elisabetta A Renzoni. (2021) Protecting the vulnerable: SARS-CoV-2 vaccination in immunosuppressed patients with interstitial lung disease. The Lancet Respiratory Medicine 202
  • Paul M McKeigue, David A McAllister, Jen Bishop, Sharon Hutchinson, Chris Robertson, Nazir Lone, Jim McMenamin, David Goldberg, Helen M Colhoun. (2021) Efficacy of COVID-19 vaccination in individuals designated as clinically extremely vulnerable in Scotland. F1000Research 10, 663
12 August 2021
Category: News
Tags: are covic-19 vaccines safe for immunosuppress people, astrazeneca, Cancer, Coronavirus, COVID, Covid-19, covid-19 vaccines, immunosuppressed, pfizer, Rare, Rare Cancer, vaccine confussion,