Ask The Experts About COVID-19 and Cancer


The Personalized Medicine Foundation and CancerConnect are pleased to provide patients and caregivers the opportunity to ask questions about the management of cancer during COVID-19. We have put together a panel of leading cancer experts to answer questions and publish a forum for the exchange of information.

  • Dr. Tanios Bekaii-Saab, MD FACP Professor of Gastrointestinal Cancer Mayo Clinics College of Medicine and Science.
  • Dr. Thomas J. Herzog, MD Paul & Carolyn Flory Professor Deputy Director, UC Cancer Institute Vice Chair Quality & Safety, Dept Ob/Gyn University of Cincinnati.
  • Diane M. Simeone, M.D. Laura and Isaac Perlmutter Professor of Surgery and Pathology Director, Pancreatic Cancer Center Associate Director of Translational Research NYU Langone Health NYU Perlmutter Cancer Center.
  • Rami Komrokji, MD Senior Member & Professor of Oncologic Sciences, Section Head- Leukemia and MDS, Vice Chair-Malignant Hematology Department, Moffitt Cancer Center.

Please submit your questions you will be notified when the responses are posted.

Click here to submit your question.

For those with cancer, are they in line to receive the vaccine sooner? Are they more susceptible to getting sick/die from COVID19?

Having cancer regardless of treatment status is a risk factor for worse outcome from infections including influenza and COVID-19. In terms of prioritization, and according to CDC guidelines, cancer patients will be part of the phase II wave of vaccination which will occur sometime in February. The vaccine is given in 2 doses at 21 days interval and we expect patients receiving the vaccine to be immune 2-3 weeks after their second dose of vaccine. Learn more about the vaccines for individuals with cancer here.

I am concerned about the safety of the two RNA vaccines in general. Are they continued to be studied for safety even as people are getting them. Are there any studies on the safety and efficacy of multiple myeloma patients and these vaccines. I have low risk smoldering myeloma.

The most common side effects reported in the clinical trials were pain at the injection site, fatigue, and fever. Serious side effects were rare and long-term side effects have not yet been well defined for SARS-CoV-2 vaccines and will be available once phase 3 trials have been followed longer. A national monitoring system exists for reporting vaccine-related adverse events. There are currently no studies defining vaccine effectiveness in patients with myeloma or other cancers. Answers to more questions about vaccination specifically in cancer patients here.

I have neutropenia. Is the covid vaccine effective and safe for me? If yes, what would be the best choice of the currently approved vaccines? Is it better to wait until more data is collected since the vaccines were tested on healthy individuals?

The clinical trials suggest that the vaccine appears safe to take, there is however no data on efficacy in patients with neutropenia and both the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines appear to have similar effectiveness but they have not been directly compared.

Ask The Experts About COVID-19 and Cancer

The Ask The Expert Series is made possible by support from The Personalized Medicine Foundation, Incyte Oncolgy, Abbvie, and CancerConnect. The "Ask The Expert" series is not medical advice nor is it a substitute for your doctor. It should serve as a guide to facilitate access to additional information and enhancement of a shared decision making process with your treating physician.

Treatment & Care