COVID vaccines offer only some protection to people with myeloma

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Author: Robert Preidt
HealthDay Reporter

WEDNESDAY, 15 December 2021 (HealthDay News) – Vaccination against COVID-19 provides far less protection for people with multiple myeloma than to survivors of other species Cancer, new research shows.

The findings highlight the need for patients with multiple myeloma to be “especially careful – to take social distancing seriously and use masking – even if they are vaccinated, ”said senior study author Dr. Nikhil Munshi of the Jerome Lipper Center for Multiple Myeloma at the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute in Boston.

The new findings come from following a recently published study JAMA Oncology, where estimated rates of COVID infection in nearly 60,000 vaccinated and unvaccinated cancer survivors who did not receive systematic cancer treatment such as e.g. chemotherapy or immunotherapy in the previous six months.

The new study compared 818 adults with multiple myeloma who were vaccinated against COVID-19 with the same number of unvaccinated patients who also had blood cancer.

Also included were nearly 9,600 patients with a condition known as monoclonal gammopathy of undetermined significance (MGUS), which increases the risk of myeloma. Half vaccinated, half unvaccinated.

During the two to 41 week follow-up, the effectiveness of vaccination in preventing infection varied widely. After two doses, it was 5.6% in patients with myeloma and 27.2% in patients with MGUS. This is compared to 85% of cancer survivors who are not on treatment.

The effectiveness of the vaccine began to decline about six months after the second dose of patients, the study found.

The findings of myeloma patients were presented at a meeting on Sunday American Society of Hematology in Atlanta. Research presented at meetings should be considered preliminary until published in a peer-reviewed journal.

The researchers said that the lower effectiveness of vaccination in patients with myeloma is probably due to the disease itself and its treatment. Both can weaken immune system.

“We found that, compared to patients who had not been treated in the past six months, the rate of breakthrough infections was 2.6%,” Munshi said in a statement from Dana-Farber.

“For patients who have been treated in the last 90 days, that number climbs to 4-5%,” he added. “And in patients treated with daratumumab [an immunotherapy agent], the number was 9%. ”

More information

The American Cancer Society has more on that multiple myeloma.

SOURCE: Dana-Farber Cancer Institute, press release, December 11, 2021.

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