April 16, 2021

Should I get the COVID-19 vaccine?

The IMF strongly recommends that patients with multiple myeloma (MM), smoldering multiple myeloma (SMM), or monoclonal gammopathy of undetermined significance (MGUS) receive a COVID-19 vaccination with the Pfizer or MODERNA vaccines, whichever is available. These vaccines offer excellent benefits, and in general, have very limited and brief side effects or toxicities. As of now, the efficacy of these vaccines far outweighs any toxicity concerns.

*During this crisis period of the COVID-19 pandemic, Pfizer or MODERNA vaccines are made available through an Emergency Use Authorization (EUA) from the FDA. No long term efficacy or side effect data are available at this time.*

How should I make a decision about getting the vaccine?

The decision to take the COVID-19 vaccine is best made with your doctor. PLEASE discuss the planning for vaccination with your doctor. It is possible your doctor may have additional questions or concerns depending upon your exact situation.

Do I have to get the same vaccine for both shots?

Generally speaking, most people will indeed receive the planned two-step dosing for their vaccination with the Pfizer or MODERNA vaccines. If it is feasible to take the same brand of the vaccine for both doses, then do so. If not, a slight delay to wait for the same brand of vaccine for your second dose is acceptable. Finally, the use of alternate brand of vaccine can be considered if availability is an issue, but please discuss this with your doctor.

In short, ask about your second dose when you get the first shot.

Be aware that additional, different vaccines will also become available in the coming months. (For example, the AstraZeneca vaccine is currently being used in the UK and elsewhere.)

Why has the use of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine been paused?

The Johnson & Johnson (J&J) vaccine was approved through the EUA, however distribution and administration of the vaccine has been paused due to a rare blood clot side effect in women under the age of 60. Further review and recommendations are awaited.

Further reading

Read this blog by IMF’s Vice President, Support Groups Robin Tuohy on the “Fireside Chat with Dr. Fauci at ASH." As always, follow our Myeloma Patient Safety and the Coronavirus page and Dr. Durie’s blogs on the subject, in particular:

Optimism for an Uncertain 2021

Looking Ahead to a Brighter 2021

Staying Positive and Strong in Times of Crisis: A Prescription for Resilience

If you have questions, contact the IMF’s InfoLine by email at [email protected] or at 1-800-452-CURE (2873) in the U.S. and Canada or worldwide at 1-818-487-7455.



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