Updated
November 15th, 2019

Cancer Patients Do Benefit From Flu Shots

Influenza vaccination recommended for cancer patients by the CDC

chemo therapy bags hanging from the rack

A new Canadian study results ‘support the existing recommendations for influenza vaccination for patients with cancer.’

This study was published by the American Society of Clinical Oncology on August 29, 2019. It found that influenza vaccination effectiveness (VE) decreased for patients with hematologic malignancies.

But, there was no significant difference in VE among patients with solid tumor cancer receiving active chemotherapy.

This observational test-negative design study included 26,463 previously diagnosed patients with cancer 18 years of age and older, who underwent influenza testing during the 2010-2011 to 2015-2016 influenza seasons in Ontario, Canada.

The VE against laboratory-confirmed influenza was 21 percent and VE against laboratory-confirmed influenza hospitalization was 20 percent. 

For patients with solid tumor malignancies, VE was 25 percent, compared with 8 percent for patients with hematologic malignancies. 

And, active chemotherapy usage did not significantly affect VE, especially among patients with solid tumor cancer.

This new study’s findings support the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)’s recommendation that ‘everyone 6 months of age and older should get a flu vaccine every season.’

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Furthermore, flu vaccination is especially important for people with cancer or a history of cancer, because they are at high risk of developing serious flu complications.

Additionally, some older adults may have a weaker immune response to flu vaccines. This can make these seniors more susceptible to flu illness and complications.

And, anyone who lives with or cares for cancer patients should also be vaccinated against the seasonal flu, says the CDC.

Recent influenza vaccine news

In the USA, most pharmacies offer a variety of influenza vaccines. And there are various financial support programs available at Vaccine Discounts for qualifying individuals.

The CDC warns that any vaccine can cause side effects, which should be reported to a healthcare provider.

Published by Vax Before Cancer.