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CLL and COVID-19: What Should Patients Know About Vaccines?

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Published on October 29, 2020

What Vaccinations Should CLL Patients Receive?

With the flu season approaching and whispers of a vaccine for COVID-19 in the works, CLL patients with compromised immune systems may have questions about what vaccines they should be receiving, and if there are any risk factors involved. According to the experts, patients with CLL should schedule their flu shots right away, but what is recommended for a future COVID vaccine?

Listen in to find out more! Carol Preston, host and CLL patient advocate, will speak with Paolo Caimi, MD, Hematologist/Oncologist at University Hospital (UH) Cleveland Medical Center on these important topics.

This program is sponsored by AbbVie, Inc., Genentech, Inc., and Adaptive Biotechnologies. These organizations have no editorial control. It is produced by Patient Power, and Patient Power is solely responsible for program content.


Transcript | CLL and COVID-19: What Should Patients Know About Vaccines?

In the Future, Should CLL Patients Get a Vaccine for COVID-19?

Carol Preston: 

There is no vaccine at this time. We don't know exactly when there will be a vaccine. And we know as CLL patients that we are only supposed to have dead vaccines as opposed to live viruses in a vaccine. So what is your thinking about a future COVID-19 vaccine.

Dr. Caimi: 

What I am telling my patients is when the vaccine comes, we will first have to make sure that it's safe. Second, I have to make sure that it's safe for you. Meaning that for people with bad immune systems or people with half bad immune systems. Third, we'll have to figure out with people who are less young, whether the dosing is different, whether the regimen is different. Then third, I'll say probably what I'll want them to do is to have everybody else around them vaccinated. Right? 

So, in general, our patients are the ones who need to be beneficiaries of herd immunity, meaning everybody else's immune to virus can't touch them. And that's probably what I would recommend them first to say, everybody else around you needs to be your barrier of protection for a vaccine. Once we figure out what the vaccine is going to be of benefit for you, maybe you need a different dosing, then we go ahead with it.

Carol Preston: 

So in other words, I guess I'm not going to be first in line for any COVID-19 vaccine.

Dr. Caimi: 

Probably not, but not necessarily because you're not priority, but because we may want to participate in a study of a COVID vaccine for people with CLL. But first, we need to figure out how can we make this safe and beneficial for you? Just giving you something that doesn't necessarily protect you may not make sense either.

What Vaccinations are Recommended for CLL Patients?

We are absolutely recommending that people get the flu shot. I got mine yesterday. My arm hurts already. And that's the whole point. The whole point is that if I'm vaccinated, hopefully won't get the flu, I can't give it to my patients. Same reason I wear a mask everywhere I go, and I try to protect them.

Please remember the opinions expressed on Patient Power are not necessarily the views of our sponsors, contributors, partners or Patient Power. Our discussions are not a substitute for seeking medical advice or care from your own doctor. That’s how you’ll get care that’s most appropriate for you.

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