The protection of cancer patients through immunisation against COVID-19 is a public health priority.
Recognising the urgent need for information on the topic of ‘COVID-19 vaccinations and patients with cancer’, ESMO organised a virtual meeting to launch a Call to Action for Member States to Vaccinate. Monitor. Educate.
Please click here to see the list of over 40 organisations that have endorsed the ESMO Call to Action on COVID-19 Vaccinations and Patients with Cancer.
In the context of the Member States developing their vaccination strategies, the European Society for Medical Oncology (ESMO) would like to request the Member States to consider the following:
- Vaccinate all cancer patients in line with the WHO principles aiming to reduce deaths and disease burden. Patients with active disease or receiving anticancer treatment deserve an additional priority in case of limitations only.
- Diligently collect data via suitable registries, in order to monitor the effects of the vaccines in the vulnerable population, including patients with cancer and immune response monitoring.
- Educate and instil confidence among the public and patients in receiving the vaccines and provide them with up-to-date information in lay language.
As healthcare professionals and patient advocacy organisations representing cancer patients and their families, our aim is to work together to ensure that the first principle of the WHO’s SAGE value framework for the allocation and prioritisation of immunisation is adhered to: to reduce deaths and disease burden and protect those who most need protection.
During the event, leading experts from the World Health Organization, the European Commission, the European Medicines Agency, and the cancer patient community presented and discussed their views and strategies on the impact and importance of COVID-19 vaccinations in patients with a high-risk profile, including those with cancer.
ESMO Statements for Vaccination Against COVID-19 in Patients with Cancer
In addition to launching a Call to Action, ESMO has published a series of statements to address issues and concerns on immunising patients with cancer against COVID-19. The statements address vaccines under development and nearing approval, the incidence and severity of COVID-19 in cancer patients, the priority cancer patients should be given during the immunisation process, the ability of cancer patients to mount an immune response post vaccination, possible risks of interaction between the vaccine and anticancer therapies, and a 4-step process to develop a risk/benefit profile and identify subgroups of cancer patients for vaccination.
ESMO COVID-19 and Cancer Portal
Since the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, ESMO has been at the forefront in providing a vast array of useful and informative resources for the cancer community through the ESMO COVID-19 and Cancer Portal.
The portal contains
- the ESMO recommendations for cancer management in the era of COVID-19 for oncology professionals
- an ESMO Guide for Cancer Patients on cancer care during the COVID-19 pandemic
- an ESMO Webinar Series on managing patients in the COVID-19 era
- how to participate in the ESMO-CoCARE Registry designed to gather clinical data on the virus’s impact on cancer patients
- as well as links to WHO norms and guidance and other resources for cancer professionals, healthcare authorities, and patients.