AYA Cancer Patients & the COVID-19 Vaccine FAQs

Can adolescent and young adult (AYA) cancer patients get the COVID-19 vaccine? What about their family caregivers?  The answer: It depends. Your care team will likely let you know if and when you should get the vaccine. If you are unsure, make sure to ask your doctor.

Can adolescent and young adult (AYA) cancer patients get the COVID-19 vaccine? What about their family caregivers?

The answer: It depends. Your care team will likely let you know if and when you should get the vaccine. If you are unsure, make sure to ask your doctor.

Each state has its own vaccine plan and schedule. People 16 and older with serious health conditions, such as cancer, and their caregivers are in higher priority groups. That means you should be eligible for a vaccine earlier than people your age who don’t have health conditions.

President Joe Biden has announced that he wants states to make the COVID-19 vaccine available to all adults by April 19. 

Many states have already made the vaccine available to anyone who meets the age requirements.

Three vaccines are authorized for use in the United States. They are called the Moderna, Pfizer-BioNTech, and Johnson & Johnson vaccines.

Your parents or others who serve as your caregivers may qualify as family caregivers, which are usually in a higher priority group for COVID-19 vaccination. Check with your treatment center or your state health department for more information.

Learn more about vaccine phases from the CDC.

Note about Johnson & Johnson vaccine

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and Food and Drug Administration (FDA) have recommended a pause in the use of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine in the United States out of an abundance of caution, effective Tuesday, April 13. The CDC and FDA are reviewing data involving six reported U.S. cases of a very rare and severe type of blood clot called cerebral venous sinus thrombosis. The six reported cases are out of over 6.8 million doses of Johnson & Johnson vaccine given in the U.S. to date. People who have received the Johnson & Johnson vaccine within the past 3 weeks who develop severe headache, abdominal pain, leg pain, or shortness of breath should contact their health care provider. For more information, visit the CDC and FDA joint statement. This safety pause is only for the J & J vaccine and not for the Pfizer-BioNTech or Moderna vaccines.

 

Where Can Cancer Patients and Caregivers Get the COVID-19 Vaccine?

You and your caregivers may be able to get the COVID-19 vaccine at the hospital or clinic where you get treatment. If not, there are likely several locations in your community. Your care team can let you know. The national VaccineFinder website might be a good resource.

When Is a Person Considered “Fully Vaccinated?”

People are considered fully vaccinated 2 weeks or more after they have received the second dose of either the Pfizer or Moderna vaccine or 2 weeks after they have received 1 dose of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine.

Do Cancer Patients Still Have to Follow Precautions Such as Wearing a Face Mask After Being Fully Vaccinated?

Yes. CDC recommendations do not apply to health care settings, such as hospitals and clinics. They apply to the general public in non-health care settings.

AYA cancer patients are considered high risk. They must not receive visits from their fully vaccinated grandparents (or others) without using a mask and keeping a physical distance of 6 feet or more.

Find more information about CDC recommendations for fully vaccinated people in non-health care settings.

Learn More About COVID-19 Vaccines


Reviewed: March 2021