Professor Grant McArthur, Co-Chair of the Victorian COVID-19 Cancer Taskforce and Executive Director of the Victorian Comprehensive Cancer Centre Alliance said that it is vital for everyone to be vaccinated against COVID, but especially those who are at higher risk of complications if they were to contract the virus.
“The vaccinations are effective at both reducing the chances of contracting COVID-19, and reducing the severity if it is contracted.” Professor McArthur said.
“Vaccination is safe and recommended for the vast majority of people with cancer, including people on active treatment and people with blood cancers. There is no evidence that people with cancer are at greater risk of side effects from the vaccine than anyone else.”
There are two COVID-19 vaccines available in Australia – one marketed by Pfizer the other one by Astra Zeneca. Both vaccines have passed Australia’s Therapeutic Goods Administration’s approval processes that assess vaccine safety, quality and effectiveness.
They do not contain the live virus that causes COVID-19 and there is no risk of catching the virus from the vaccines.
“Protection for people with cancer is essential against this virus. The benefits far outweigh any small risk from potential side effects.” Professor McArthur said.
“As a cancer doctor, I cannot emphasise the importance of this message enough: if you have cancer, get vaccinated.”
Chemo@home patient, Claudia Van Dijk, is booked in to have her first Pfizer shot in early August.
“Discuss your options for a vaccination with your health care specialist,” Claudia said
“But at the end of the day, having these vaccinations is for the greater good of our whole community. Eventually out borders will re-open and we need to be protected.”
*Photo: chemo@home patient Claudia with company co-founder Lorna Cook.