Following is from the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society 16 August 2021
“We are pleased to report that the FDA has expanded authorization for Pfizer and Moderna COVID-19 vaccines to include a booster dose for people with compromised immune systems.The CDC has also updated its COVID-19 vaccine recommendations to include an additional vaccine dose (Pfizer or Moderna) for most blood cancer patients.
The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society (LLS) has been a strong force behind making this decision happen.
- Thanks to citizen scientists like you, LLS published the largest study to date providing data in over 1,400 patients about COVID-19 vaccine response across all major blood cancer and treatment types. Our results were published in the one of the most highly cited cancer journals in the field, Cancer Cell.
- Dr. Larry Saltzman, a blood cancer patient himself, spoke at a pivotal meeting held by the CDC last week to discuss booster vaccines for immunocompromised patients.
- LLS has been in close contact with our nation’s public health officials on behalf of the patients we serve to urge that these recommendations include blood cancer patients who do not mount full protection from the standard two-dose vaccine series.
- Our registry has been tracking antibody responses of over 40 patients who have already received boosters (after full vaccination) to understand booster dose safety and efficacy. We expect to report our results soon.
- We are providing funding support for a newly opened clinical trial at Montefiore Hospital (Bronx, NY, 718-405-8404) that will measure booster antibody responses among patients with blood and other cancers who were seronegative after the standard vaccination schedule (two doses of Pfizer or Moderna; one dose of Johnson & Johnson).
- LLS is at the center of coordination and funding of blood cancer researchers in the U.S. and the United Kingdom to understand the complete immune response to SARS-CoV-2 vaccines, as well as to discuss treatment strategies to control COVID-19 should blood cancer patients contract the virus.
But our work is far from done and your role is as important as ever.
If you have not finished requesting your comprehensive medical records or have additional records to request through Ciitizen, please click here to finish onboarding. Your health data that is securely stored through the Ciitizen platform is critical to the ongoing research efforts of LLS.
We are developing a new study protocol to enroll patients and monitor their antibody response to vaccine booster doses. The new study should launch by early September. In the meantime, we will be monitoring response to booster vaccines through the LLS National Patient Registry. To get the most meaningful data, we will compare COVID-19 antibody levels no more than six weeks before the booster dose and again three- to five-weeks after. These before and after tests are the best way to know how well the booster doses work.
Based on your physician’s recommendation, please notify us at PACT@lls.org if you intend to receive a booster so that we can assist in monitoring your response. Please keep in mind that LLS is not a medical provider. We cannot arrange for a booster vaccine. Nor can we make recommendations for your personal decision. That is a discussion between you and your medical team.
Get Vaccinated, Act Unvaccinated.
We want to remind you that the best strategy for blood cancer patients is to Get Vaccinated, Act Unvaccinated by layering on additional protections like wearing a mask and social distancing. COVID-19 is particularly dangerous and deadly for people with blood cancer, so we urge you to take very precaution to stay safe.
On behalf of LLS, thank you for becoming a citizen scientist and helping us fulfill our mission to improve the quality of life of blood cancer patients and their families. We are, as always grateful for your support.
Experts will discuss the latest COVID-19 information at upcoming video conference.
LLS Research Now is a monthly conference series about how LLS is advancing blood cancer research. Our next program on Thursday, September 30 at 1:00 pm ET will bring together medical experts to discuss the latest information about COVID-19, including an up-to-the-minute update on vaccines and COVID-19 research. The program is free and registration will be available soon here.