Small-Cell Lung Cancer and the COVID-19 Vaccine: Current Recommendations
Small-cell lung cancer (SCLC) is one of the two main types of lung cancer, along with non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC). SCLC makes up
It’s important to look after your overall health while undergoing treatment for any type of cancer, including SCLC. One aspect of this involves staying up to date on any recommended vaccinations, particularly the COVID-19 vaccine.
Receiving your COVID-19 vaccine while having treatment for SCLC may seem daunting. However, it’s a vital step for preventing serious illness or death due to COVID-19.
The current recommendations for the COVID-19 vaccine for people with SCLC, as well as the potential side effects, can be found below.
According to the
Due to the risk COVID-19 poses to people with cancer, the National Comprehensive Cancer Network recommends that all people with cancer receive the COVID-19 vaccine as soon as they can. The
Due to their higher effectiveness and better safety profile, the
The current recommendations for the vaccine are shown in the table.
|Primary series||First booster||Second booster (ages 50 and older)|
|Pfizer-BioNTech||2 doses 3–8 weeks apart||at least 5 months after primary series (mRNA preferred)||at least 4 months after first booster (mRNA only)|
|Moderna||2 doses 4–8 weeks apart||at least 5 months after primary series (mRNA preferred)||at least 4 months after first booster (mRNA only)|
|Johnson & Johnson||1 dose||at least 2 months after primary series (mRNA preferred)||at least 4 months after first booster (mRNA only)|
Vaccines for immunocompromised adults
COVID-19 vaccine recommendations differ slightly if you’re
The weakened immune system of this population may cause individuals to produce a lower immune response to the vaccine. An additional vaccine dose is added to the primary series.
The current recommendations for the COVID-19 vaccine are shown in the table.
|Primary series||Primary series: Additional dose||First booster||Second booster|
|Pfizer-BioNTech||2 doses 3 weeks apart||additional dose 4 weeks after second dose||at least 3 months after additional dose (mRNA preferred)||at least 4 months after first booster (mRNA only)|
|Moderna||2 doses 4 weeks apart||additional dose 4 weeks after second dose||at least 3 months after additional dose (mRNA preferred)||at least 4 months after first booster (mRNA only)|
|Johnson & Johnson||1 dose||additional dose 4 weeks after initial dose (mRNA only)||at least 2 months after additional dose (mRNA preferred)||at least 4 months after first booster (mRNA only)|
In the 30 participants with low levels of antibody, an additional third dose led to improved levels in all but 3 people.
Who should delay or abstain from COVID-19 vaccination?
According to the
- The treatments for the immune system.
- CAR T-cell therapy is a therapy.
- Stem cell transplant.
There are only a few circumstances where a person shouldn’t get a COVID-19 vaccine. These
- a history of a severe allergic reaction (anaphylaxis) to a previous dose of a COVID-19 vaccine
- a known allergy to an ingredient in a COVID-19 vaccine
- a history of thrombosis with a low platelet count (thrombocytopenia) after receiving an adenoviral vector COVID-19 vaccine (contraindication for adenoviral vector vaccines only)
The treatment of SCLC often focuses on the use of chemotherapy, radiation therapy, or both. In some situations, immunotherapy may be recommended.
According to the
COVID-19 vaccines are safe for people with cancer. While people with cancer shouldn’t get live vaccines, they can, after consultation with a doctor, get other types of vaccines. These include both mRNA and adenoviral vector vaccines.
However, it’s still possible to experience some side effects after vaccination. The most common side effects of COVID-19 vaccines
- There are some symptoms at the injection site.
- There is a high degree of fever.
- “It’s cold.”
- The muscles are sore.
- There is a throbbing head.
A 2021 study surveyed people with cancer about the side effects that they had after getting the COVID-19 vaccine. The most common types of side effects reported included pain at the injection site, fatigue, and muscle pain.
A 2022 study examined the safety of the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine in 210 people with cancer, some of whom had SCLC. It found that the incidence of vaccine side effects in people with cancer was similar to that of the general public.
The study included people who were undergoing cancer treatment. The type of cancer treatment participants received was not linked to vaccine side effects.
The side effects of the COVID-19 vaccines are gone on their own after a few days. If you find that your side effects last longer than a few days, it is important to get in touch with a doctor.
Are people with lung cancer more likely to contract SARS-CoV-2?
People with cancer are generally more vulnerable to contracting infections such as SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19. This can be due to the effects of the cancer itself or of certain cancer treatments such as chemotherapy on your body’s defenses against infections.
Are people with lung cancer at a higher risk of severe COVID-19?
Individuals with lung cancer face additional challenges from COVID-19. They often have reduced lung function because of factors.
- having a history of smoking
- undergoing a surgery for lung cancer
- Lung damage is a result of the cancer itself.
- Having other health conditions that affect lung and heart function.
Can symptoms of COVID-19 be confused with symptoms of SCLC?
The symptoms of COVID-19 and SCLC do have some overlap. Some examples of symptoms that may happen with either condition are:
- The breath was very thin.
However, COVID-19 and SCLC also have unique symptoms as well. For COVID-19, these may include a runny or stuffy nose, a sore throat, or the loss of smell or taste. For SCLC, they may include chest pain, hoarseness, or unexplained weight loss.
Are there any medications you shouldn’t take before a COVID-19 vaccine?
- A drug called aspirin.
- ibuprofen (Advil, Motrin)
- naproxen (Aleve)
- acetaminophen (Tylenol)
If you take medications that suppress the immune system, talk with a doctor about the impact that your medications may have on vaccine effectiveness. They can give you more information about this and the best timing for your vaccination.
Should I get the flu vaccine if I have SCLC?
People with cancer are also at an increased risk of more serious illness due to the flu. Because of this, people with cancer, including SCLC, should receive a flu vaccine each year.
The type of vaccine is important. The flu shot contains an inactivated form of the virus, and not the weakened but live form of the virus, so it should be given to people with cancer.
If you have questions about the vaccine or the timing of the vaccine, you should talk to a doctor.
Individuals with cancer are at an increased risk of serious illness due to COVID-19. They need to get their vaccine as soon as possible.
The vaccines are safe and effective for people with SCLC. If you have questions about the vaccine, you should consult a doctor.