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COVID-19 vaccines and cancer care: the known, the unknown and the unknowable: ESMO Live Roundtable

18 Jan 2021

While patients with cancer are likely to be immunised against COVID-19 at some point in the next future, evidence regarding vaccination of this population is limited, thus raising some concerns on its efficacy and safety among the oncology community. On Friday 22 January 2021 the European Society for Medical Oncology (ESMO) will host the Live Roundtable “COVID-19 vaccines and cancer care: the known, the unknown and the unknowable” (h.12:30-13:30 CET) to address the main issues on the use of vaccines targeting the Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome CoronaVirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) in patients with cancer. 

A panel of renowned experts in oncology, immunology and virology will discuss the science behind COVID-19 vaccines, the risks of their interaction with antineoplastic therapies and ideal timings of administration in cancer care, along with updates on other key aspects such as the ability of patients with cancer to mount an immune response and the duration of post-vaccination protection.


  • Prof. Solange Peters, ESMO President, Centre Hospitalier Universitaire Vaudois (CHUV), Lausanne, Switzerland 
  • Dr Ravindran Kanesvaran, National Cancer Centre Singapore, Singapore 
  • Prof. Uwe Gerd Liebert, Institute of Virology, Leipzig University, Leipzig, Germany 
  • Prof. Thomas Powles, Barts Cancer Institute, London, UK 
  • Prof. Leif Erik Sander, Department of Infectious Diseases and Pulmonary Medicine, Charité -Universitätsmedizin Berlin, Germany 

The event will be moderated by Ben Hirschler, writer and former global pharmaceuticals correspondent for Reuters, and will conclude with a Q&A session. 

The ESMO Live Roundtable is part of ESMO’s commitment to increase knowledge on COVID-19 vaccination in patients with cancer and provide guidance to medical oncologists. Since the European Medicines Agency (EMA) approved the first vaccines targeting Sars-CoV-2 in December 2020, ESMO has promptly reacted by releasing ten statements on COVID-19 vaccination in patients with cancer and has launched a call to action for Member States "Vaccinate. Monitor. Educate.” advocating for people with cancer to be considered as a high priority group in COVID-19vaccination programmes. 

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