Can adolescent and young adult (AYA) cancer patients get the COVID-19 vaccine?
What about their family caregivers?
The answer: Yes, COVID-19 vaccines are safe and recommended for all people aged 12 years of age or older, especially for those with underlying medical problems such as cancer, and their household contacts. Everyone 12 years old and older is now eligible to get a COVID-19 vaccination.
Because patients with cancer may not respond as well to the vaccine, caregivers of persons with weakened immune systems should get a COVID-19 vaccine to protect them.
If you are unsure, ask your doctor. The Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine, also known as Comirnaty, is approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for people ages 16 and up. It is authorized for use in people ages 12-15. This vaccine is two doses.
Two additional vaccines, Moderna and Johnson & Johnson, are authorized for use in people over age 18. The Moderna requires two doses. Johnson & Johnson is a single dose.
COVID-19 Vaccine Third Dose vs. Booster
The third dose of a COVID-19 vaccine helps those with vulnerable immune systems who may not have built up enough immunity from the first two doses of Pfizer-BioNTech or Moderna.
The booster shot is for those who are at high-risk of severe COVID-19, or those whose daily job puts them at high risk of serious complications of COVID-19 including severe COVID-19, such as frontline workers, who may have experienced a decrease in immunity over time.
It is currently only available for those who had the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine.
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-BioNTech 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