How many COVID vaccines do people with cancer need?

9th December 2021

People who might have been immunosuppressed at the time of their first two vaccine doses are eligible to receive a third primary dose. This includes:

  • People diagnosed with blood cancers
  • People who have received stem cell transplants
  • People who had received immunosuppressive chemotherapy or radiotherapy in the last 6 months

The third dose should be given at least 8 weeks after the second dose, with special attention paid to current or planned immunosuppressive therapies.

Results from a CAPTURE study published on 27th October 2021 supports previous findings that people with cancer, especially those with blood cancers, do not develop as strong a response to the vaccine compared to people who don’t have cancer. Therefore, a third primary dose will help patients generate a more robust immune response.

Please note: it is not yet known whether those who will be offered a third dose will also be offered a booster at a later date.

Find out more:

  • Read Cancer Research UK’s ‘COVID vaccine and cancer patients’ article here
  • Read the CAPTURE study which assesses cancer patients’ response to the COVID-19 vaccines here
  • Find the list of people who are immunosuppressed on the UK Government website here

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