Monmouth County's Ask the Doctor November/December

H E A L T H A R T I C L E S A N D Q & A

Should I get a third dose of the COVID-19 vaccine if I have Cancer?

People with certain cancers or who are receiving treatment that suppresses the immune system may have a weaker re- sponse to COVID-19 vaccines than people whose immune systems are not compromised. CDC recommends that people whose immune systems are moderately to severely compromised and who received two doses of an mRNA COVID-19 vaccine (Pfizer-BioNTech or Moderna) receive a third dose of the same vaccine. According to CDC, such people include those who: • Are being treated for blood cancer (leukemia, lymphoma, or multiple myeloma) • Have received a stem cell transplant within the past 2 years • Are taking medicine that may suppress your immune response

At this time, there is not enough data to recommend an ad- ditional dose for people who received Johnson & Johnson’s Janssen vaccine. Visit CDC’s website for more information about COVID-19 vaccines for immunocompromised people, and ask your doctor if you should get an additional dose. What are other ways that I can protect myself? Aside from vaccination, the most effective way to prevent COVID-19 is to avoid being exposed to the virus that causes it. People at high risk for developing serious illness from COVID-19 can help protect themselves by limiting their interac- tions with other people as much as possible and by taking precautions to prevent getting COVID-19 when they do interact with others. To protect yourself and prevent the spread of COVID-19: • Get a COVID-19 vaccination. • Wear a well-fitting mask that covers your nose and mouth. • Stay 6 feet away from people who don’t live with you. • Avoid crowds and poorly ventilated indoor spaces. • Wash your hands often with soap and water. Use hand sanitizer if soap and water aren’t available. • Cover coughs and sneezes. • Clean and disinfect frequently touched surfaces daily. • Be alert for symptoms of COVID-19. What should I do if I have symptoms of an infection? If you think you have been exposed to COVID-19 or have symptoms of an infection, isolate yourself from others and call your health care provider. You may need to get tested for coronavirus.

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