Covid: Cancer patients should be given priority for second vaccine dose – Scotsman comment

The mass vaccination of the entire population is a huge task and one that is more complex than it might first appear.

People who are more vulnerable to Covid should be given priority in the queue for vaccination (Picture: Ricardo Arduengo/AFP via Getty Images)
People who are more vulnerable to Covid should be given priority in the queue for vaccination (Picture: Ricardo Arduengo/AFP via Getty Images)

For example, in Scotland a decision was taken to prioritise the vaccination of people in care homes in particular, even though this meant that initially the total number being inoculated was lower than it otherwise might have been.

However, even if it slowed down the process, it was still the right decision to protect the most vulnerable as quickly as possible.

Sign up to our Opinion newsletter

Sign up to our Opinion newsletter

Now comes evidence from research by scientists at King's College London and the Francis Crick Institute that some cancer patients may need to be given a higher priority.

The study found that, three weeks after being given the first Pfizer vaccine dose, only 39 per cent of people with solid cancers and just 13 per cent of people with blood cancer had developed an antibody response.

Read More

Read More
Cancer patients are not as protected as others against Covid after first vaccine...

However, if given a second dose three weeks after the first – as recommended by Pfizer – 95 per cent of patients with solid tumours had detectable antibodies.

In the UK, Covid vaccines which require two doses are being given up to 12 weeks apart to enable more people to have one dose more quickly.

The research has not yet been peer-reviewed and involved a relatively small group of people – 151 with cancer and 54 healthy controls – but should be viewed as a significant warning sign.

The researchers called for an urgent review of the vaccine strategy for extremely vulnerable groups and the authorities must respond quickly to this new information.

It could be the difference between life and death.

 0 comments

Want to join the conversation? Please or to comment on this article.