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AACR COVID-19 and Cancer Task Force Recommends Patients With Cancer Should Receive Priority Access to Vaccines

PHILADELPHIA – The American Association for Cancer Research’s COVID-19 and Cancer Task Force recommended today that patients with cancer should be considered for priority access to COVID-19 vaccines due to their increased risk of mortality from COVID-19 infection, according to a position paper published in the AACR journal Cancer Discovery.

The task force reviewed the available literature on fatality rates of patients with cancer who developed COVID-19 and based their recommendation on 28 publications. The task force’s recommendation comes as the Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP) within the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) prepares to meet this weekend to discuss the allocation of initial supplies of COVID-19 vaccines.

According to the task force’s review:

  • COVID-19 fatality rates for patients with cancer were double that of patients without cancer.
  • Even when adjusted for age, sex, and comorbidities, the mortality rates trended upward, indicating a greater risk for severe disease and mortality due to COVID-19 in patients with cancer.

Read the position paper. To request an interview with corresponding author Antoni Ribas, MD, PhD, please contact Julia Gunther at [email protected] or Rick Buck at [email protected]. Ribas is AACR President and chair of the AACR COVID-19 and Cancer Task Force.

This position paper from the AACR COVID-19 and Cancer Task Force builds on the rapidly growing body of research into the consequences of the pandemic for cancer patients. All AACR journal content related to COVID-19 is freely available in the COVID-19 and Cancer Resource Center. The AACR will host the next AACR Virtual Meeting: COVID-19 and Cancer on February 3-5, 2021. This three-day event will feature the latest basic, clinical, and epidemiologic findings related to COVID-19 and cancer. The AACR hosted a similar virtual meeting in July.