CLL and COVID-19: What Should Patients Know About Vaccines?

This article was originally published on Patient Power 

What Vaccinations Should CLL Patients Receive?

With the flu season approaching and whispers of a vaccine for COVID-19 in the works, CLL patients with compromised immune systems may have questions about what vaccines they should be receiving, and if there are any risk factors involved. According to the experts, patients with CLL should schedule their flu shots right away, but what is recommended for a future COVID vaccine?

Listen in to find out more! Carol Preston, host and CLL patient advocate, will speak with Paolo Caimi, MD, Hematologist/Oncologist at University Hospital (UH) Cleveland Medical Center on these important topics.

In the Future, Should CLL Patients Get a Vaccine for COVID-19?

Carol Preston: 

There is no vaccine at this time. We don’t know exactly when there will be a vaccine. And we know as CLL patients that we are only supposed to have dead vaccines as opposed to live viruses in a vaccine. So what is your thinking about a future COVID-19 vaccine.

Dr. Caimi: 

What I am telling my patients is when the vaccine comes, we will first have to make sure that it’s safe. Second, I have to make sure that it’s safe for you. Meaning that for people with bad immune systems or people with half bad immune systems. Third, we’ll have to figure out with people who are less young, whether the dosing is different, whether the regimen is different. Then third, I’ll say probably what I’ll want them to do is to have everybody else around them vaccinated. Right?

So, in general, our patients are the ones who need to be beneficiaries of herd immunity, meaning everybody else’s immune to virus can’t touch them. And that’s probably what I would recommend them first to say, everybody else around you needs to be your barrier of protection for a vaccine. Once we figure out what the vaccine is going to be of benefit for you, maybe you need a different dosing, then we go ahead with it.

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