The relative risk of developing COVID-19 was more than 20 times higher for unvaccinated patients with cancer than for vaccinated patients with cancer, according to findings from a real-world study presented at the European Society for Medical Oncology (ESMO) Congress 2021.
Most vaccinated patients had no or mild side effects, and the majority of patients on active cancer treatment were able to continue their treatment as normal.
The study included 1069 patients who used Belong.life, a digital health application for patients with cancer. The patients replied to a targeted survey in April 2021, before the delta variant of SARS-CoV-2 had become widespread.
A majority of patients were women (79.5%), 50 to 69 years of age (72%), and based in North America (91%).
The most common diagnoses were breast (35.2%), gynecologic (14.4%), gastrointestinal (13.3%), lung (9.7%), and genitourinary (7%) cancers. In the 12 months prior to COVID-19 vaccination, patients had received chemotherapy (59%), immunotherapy (14.2%), and radiotherapy (32.8%).
Most patients were vaccinated against COVID-19, though 9.5% were not. Of the unvaccinated group, 4.9% said they did not want to be vaccinated, and the remainder said they weren’t vaccinated yet.
Vaccine types included Pfizer-BioNTech (46.2%), Moderna (36%), Johnson & Johnson (4.1%), and Oxford-AstraZeneca (4.1%).