Donation

The Latest Updates and Information on COVID-19 for Myeloma Patients: Vaccines, Boosters, Anti-viral Treatments, and Answers to FAQs

May 3, 2022

CDC Recommendations for Masks and Travel

The Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recently issued a press release on its recommendations for wearing masks and travel.  (Note: As a result of a court order, effective immediately and as of April 18, 2022, the CDC’s January 29, 2021 order requiring masks on public transportation conveyances and at transportation hubs is no longer in effect. Therefore, CDC will not enforce the order. However, the CDC continues to recommend wearing masks in indoor public transportation settings at this time.)

“At this time, CDC recommends that everyone aged 2 and older – including passengers and workers – properly wear a well-fitting mask or respirator over the nose and mouth in indoor areas of public transportation (such as airplanes, trains, etc.) and transportation hubs (such as airports, stations, etc.). When people properly wear a well-fitting mask or respirator, they protect themselves and those around them, and help keep travel and public transportation safer for everyone. Wearing a well-fitting mask or respirator is most beneficial in crowded or poorly ventilated locations, such as airport jetways. We also encourage operators of public transportation and transportation hubs to support mask wearing by all people, including employees,” states the CDC press release. 

The CDC’s public health recommendation was based on currently available data, “including an understanding of domestic and global epidemiology, circulating variants and their impact on disease severity and vaccine effectiveness, current trends in COVID-19 Community Levels within the United States, and projections of COVID-19 trends in the coming months.”


Domestic travel: For those traveling within the U.S. and U.S. Territories

  • Before traveling, make sure you are up to date with your COVID-19 vaccines. 
  • Research your destination’s COVID-19 situation before traveling. State, tribal, local, and territorial governments vary and may have travel restrictions in place.
  • The CDC recommends wearing a well-fitting mask over your nose and mouth in indoor areas of public transportation (including airplanes) and indoors in U.S. transportation hubs (including airports).
  • Travel is NOT advised for those who have COVID-19 symptoms, who have tested positive for COVID-19, who are waiting for results of a COVID-19 test, or who had close contact with a person with COVID-19 and are recommended to quarantine.

International travel: For those traveling outside the U.S. and U.S. Territories

For U.S. Citizens, U.S. Nationals, U.S. Lawful Permanent Residents, and Immigrants traveling to and from the United States

  • Before traveling internationally or outside the United States, make sure you are up to date with your COVID-19 vaccines.
  • Research your destination’s COVID-19 situation and travel requirements before traveling. Countries may have their own entry and exit requirements.
  • When traveling to the U.S. by plane and before boarding your flight, you are required to show a negative COVID-19 test result or documentation of recovery from COVID-19.
  • The CDC recommends wearing a well-fitting mask over your nose and mouth in indoor areas of public transportation (including airplanes) and indoors in U.S. transportation hubs (including airports).

For Non-U.S. Citizens or Non-U.S. Immigrants traveling to the United States

  • Before traveling to the United States, make sure you are up to date with your COVID-19 vaccines.
  • If you are a non-U.S. citizen, non-U.S. immigrant traveling to the U.S. by plane, (not a U.S. citizen, U.S. national, lawful permanent resident, or traveling to the United States on an immigrant visa), you are required to be fully vaccinated with the primary series of an accepted COVID-19 vaccine. Only limited exceptions apply.
  • Before traveling to the U.S. by plane, you are required to show a negative COVID-19 test result or documentation of recovery from COVID-19.
  • The CDC recommends wearing a well-fitting mask over your nose and mouth in indoor areas of public transportation (including airplanes) and indoors in U.S. transportation hubs (including airports).

For more information about safer travel during the pandemic, see Domestic Travel During COVID-19 | CDC and International Travel | CDC.

To keep track of COVID-19 data in various locations in the United States, visit the CDC’s Covid Data Tracker and COVID-19 Travel Recommendations by Destination.

March 30, 2022

Clinical Guidelines on Administering Evusheld™ Before or After Receiving a COVID-19 Vaccine/Booster

For individuals who received Evusheld™ prior to a COVID-19 vaccination/booster

According to the interim clinical considerations for use of COVID-19 vaccines set by the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), individuals who previously received antibody products (anti-SARS-CoV-2 monoclonal antibodies or convalescent plasma) such as Evusheld (tixagevimab/cilgavimab) —whether as part of COVID-19 treatment, post-exposure prophylaxis, or pre-exposure prophylaxis —are eligible for a COVID-19 vaccination at any time. There is no need to delay vaccination after receiving monoclonal antibodies or convalescent plasma. 

For individuals who received a COVID-19 vaccine/booster prior to receiving Evusheld™ 

However, for individuals who received a COVID-19 vaccine or booster prior to receiving Evusheld (tixagevimab/cilgavimab), administration of tixagevimab/cilgavimab as pre-exposure prophylaxis should be done at least two weeks after being vaccinated, as indicated in the FDA Fact Sheet.  

March 29, 2022

FDA Authorizes 2nd COVID-19 Booster for Immunocompromised Individuals 50 Years and Older

On March 29, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) authorized the use of either a Pfizer-BioNTech or Moderna COVID-19 second booster dose for individuals aged 50 and above and for certain immunocompromised individuals. 

Previously, the FDA approved a single booster dose for certain immunocompromised individuals who have completed a three-dose primary vaccination series. This recent authorization will make a second COVID-19 booster dose accessible to those who are at higher risk for severe disease, hospitalization, and death. 

“Current evidence suggests some waning of protection over time against serious outcomes from COVID-19 in older and immunocompromised individuals. Based on an analysis of emerging data, a second booster dose of either the Pfizer-BioNTech or Moderna COVID-19 vaccine could help increase protection levels for these higher-risk individuals,” said Peter Marks, M.D., Ph.D., director of the FDA’s Center for Biologics Evaluation and Research. “Additionally, the data show that an initial booster dose is critical in helping to protect all adults from the potentially severe outcomes of COVID-19. So, those who have not received their initial booster dose are strongly encouraged to do so.”
 
Emergency use authorizations (EUAs) have been amended by the FDA as follows:

  • A second booster of either the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 Vaccine or Moderna COVID-19 Vaccine may be administered to those aged 50 and above, at least 4 months after receiving a first booster dose of any approved/authorized COVID-19 vaccine
  • A second booster dose of the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 Vaccine may be administered to those aged 12 and older with certain kinds of immunocompromise (i.e., people who went through solid organ transplantation, or those who are living with conditions that are considered to have an equivalent level of immunocompromise), at least 4 months after receiving a first booster of any approved/authorized COVID-19 vaccine 
  • A second booster dose of the Moderna COVID-19 Vaccine may be administered to those aged 18 and older, who have the same certain kinds of immunocompromise, at least 4 months after receiving a first booster dose of any approved/authorized COVID-19 vaccine

This recent FDA authorization only applies to the Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna COVID-19 Vaccines; the authorization of a single booster dose for other age groups with Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna COVID-19 vaccines remains the same. The FDA “will continue to evaluate data and information as it becomes available when considering the potential use of a second booster dose in other age groups.”

Additionally, “the FDA-authorized Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 Vaccine and the FDA-approved Comirnaty can be used to provide the authorized booster dose(s). Similarly, the FDA-authorized Moderna COVID-19 Vaccine and the FDA-approved Spikevax are authorized to provide the authorized booster dose(s).”

For more information that supports the authorization of a second COVID-19 booster dose, please visit FDA.gov.
 

February 25, 2022

CDC Provides COVID-19 Community Levels Tool

The Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) is providing a new tool to help communities and healthcare systems avoid the strain brought about by COVID-19. 

COVID-19 Community Levels utilizes the latest data to help communities decide on the best prevention steps. Levels can be low, medium, or high and are based on the following:
-    Number of hospital beds being used
-    Hospital admissions
-    Total number of new COVID-19 cases in an area

Prevention Steps to Take Based on COVID-19 Community Level

  1. Check your county’s COVID-19 Community Level
  2. If your COVID-19 Community Level is LOW: Stay up to date with COVID-19 vaccines and get tested if you have symptoms.
  3. If your COVID-19 Community Level is MEDIUM: If you are at high risk for severe illness, talk to your healthcare provider if you need to wear a mask and if you should take other precautions. Stay up to date with COVID-19 vaccines and get tested if you have symptoms.
  4. If your COVID-19 Community Level is HIGH: Wear a mask indoors in public settings, stay up to date with COVID-19 vaccines and get tested if you have symptoms.

Note to Healthcare Facilities: COVID-19 Community Levels do not apply in healthcare settings, such as hospitals and nursing homes. Instead, healthcare settings should continue to use community transmission rates and follow the CDC’s infection prevention and control recommendations for healthcare workers.

February 24, 2022

Revisions to Evusheld™ Dosing Authorized by FDA

On February 24, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) revised the emergency use authorization (EUA) for  Evusheld™ (tixagevimab co-packaged with cilgavimab) — changing the initial dose for authorized use in certain adults and pediatric patients  (12 years and older, weighing at least 40 kg) as pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP) for the prevention of COVID-19.

According to the FDA, Evusheld "may be less active against certain omicron subvariants." 

"The dosing regimen was revised because available data indicate that a higher dose of Evusheld may be more likely to prevent infection by the COVID-19 omicron subvariants BA.1 and BA1.1 than the originally authorized Evusheld dose," the FDA further states. 

The revision changes the initial dose from 150 mg of tixagevimab and 150 mg of cilgavimab to twice the dosage, at 300 mg of tixagevimab and 300 mg of cilgavimab. Patients who have already received the initial authorized dose will need to get an additional dose at the soonest possible time to increase their monoclonal antibody levels. Tixagevimab and cilgavimab are administered separately and consecutively as intramuscular injections, with repeat doses every 6 months while SARS-CoV-2 is still in circulation. Any subsequent repeat dosing will be based from the date of the additional dose.

Evusheld should only be administered to individuals who are not currently infected with SARS-CoV-2 and have not been recently exposed to someone infected with SARS-CoV-2.

Evusheld is only authorized for use on:

  • Individuals who are moderately or severely immunocompromised due to a medical condition or who are using immunosuppressive medications or treatments and thus, may not have adequate immune response to COVID-19 vaccines
  • Individuals who have a severe adverse reaction to any available approved or authorized COVID-19 vaccine

February 11, 2022

Emergency Use Authorization for Bebtelovimab for Treatment of Mild to Moderate COVID-19 among Adults and Pediatric Patients 

On February 11, 2022, The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) issued an emergency use authorization (EUA) for bebtelovimab — a new monoclonal antibody for the treatment of mild to moderate COVID-19 in adults and pediatric patients (12 years of age and older, weighing about 88 lbs. or at least 40 kilograms), who tested positive for COVID-19, are at high-risk of developing severe COVID-19 (including hospitalization and death), and when alternative approved or authorized COVID-19 treatment options are not accessible or clinically appropriate. 

However, bebtelovimab is NOT authorized for patients who are hospitalized or require oxygen therapy due to COVID-19 — this treatment has not been studied in hospitalized COVID-19 patients. Monoclonal antibodies (such as bebtelovimab) “may be associated with worse clinical outcomes when administered to hospitalized patients with COVID-19 requiring high flow oxygen or mechanical ventilation,” the FDA warns. 

Based on a review of the”totality of the scientific evidence available,” the FDA has determined that bebtelomivab may be effective in treating mild or moderate COVID-19 and “when used to treat COVID-19 for the authorized population, the known and potential benefits of these antibodies outweigh the known and potential risks.” The FDA notes that “there are NO adequate, approved and available treatments to bebtelovimab.” 

Some facts about bebtelovimab: 

-    Similar to other monoclonal antibodies that have been authorized for treating high-risk patients with mild to moderate COVID-19, bebtelovimab works by binding to the spike protein of the virus that causes COVID-19, therefore reducing the risk of hospitalization and death. 
-    Circulating viral variants are being carefully monitored by the FDA as well as these variants’ sensitivity to authorized monoclonal antibodies (including bebtelovimab). Laboratory tests have shown that bebtelovimab retains activity against the omicron variant and BA.2 omicron subvariant.
-    Some possible side effects of bebtelovimab may include nausea and vomiting, itching, rash, and infusion-related reactions.
-    Serious and adverse effects observed with other SARS-CoV-2 monoclonal antibodies such as hypersensitivity, anaphylaxis, and infusion-related reactions may also occur with bebtelovimab
-    Additionally, clinical worsening following administration of other SARS-CoV-2 monoclonal antibody treatment has been reported and may also be possible with bebtelovimab. It is not known if these events were related to the use of SARS-CoV-2 monoclonal antibodies or if they were due to COVID-19 progression. 

 

COVID-19 Vaccines

For Moderately or Severely

Immunocompromised Individuals

(As of April 29, 2022)

Source: CDC

Who are considered as moderately or severely immunocompromised?

Individuals who are moderately or severely immunocompromised have a weakened immune system and are at increased risk of severe illness from COVID-19 or death. Additionally, their immune response to COVID-19 vaccines may not be as strong as those who are not immunocompromised. 

If you are moderately or severely immunocompromised, the CDC advises to stay up to date with your COVID-19 vaccinations to get the best protection possible. Self-attestation should suffice, and no documentation of your immunocompromised status is needed to receive COVID-19 vaccines, where available. 

What do you need to know if you are moderately or severely immunocompromised?

According to the CDC:

  • If you are moderately or severely immunocompromised (have a weakened immune system), you are at increased risk of severe COVID-19 illness and death. Additionally, your immune response to COVID-19 vaccination may not be as strong as in people who are not immunocompromised.
  • As with vaccines for other diseases, you are protected best when you stay up to date with your COVID-19 vaccines as described below.
  • You may also be eligible for Evusheld, a medicine given by your healthcare provider to help prevent you from getting COVID-19.
  • You can self-attest to your moderately or severely immunocompromised status. This means that you do not need any documentation of your status in order to receive COVID-19 vaccine doses wherever they are offered.
For children ages 5-11 who are moderately or severely immunocompromised

This immunocompromised age group is advised to receive a 3-dose primary series of the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine (Note: a booster shot is not recommended for this age group at this time).
 
A total of three doses are needed to complete the primary series with timing as follows:

  • 2nd dose should be given 3 weeks (21 days) after the 1st dose
  • 3rd dose should be given at least 4 weeks (28 days) after the 2nd dose
For ages 12 and older who are moderately or severely immunocompromised

In order to stay up to date on COVID-19 vaccinations, immunocompromised individuals aged 12 years and older should receive a total of 4 doses of the mRNA COVID-19 vaccine (Pfizer-BioNTech or Moderna) which include:

  • 3-dose primary vaccine series (Pfizer BioNTech or Moderna COVID-19 vaccine)
  • 1 booster shot (Pfizer BioNTech or Moderna COVID-19 vaccine)
  • Note that for teens ages 12-17 years, only the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine should be administered

 
For Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 Vaccine: (Ages 12 and older)

  • 3 doses are required to complete the primary vaccine series
  • 2nd dose should be given 3 weeks (21 days) after the 1st dose
  • 3rd dose should be given at least 4 weeks (28 days) after the 2nd dose
  • 1 booster shot should be given at least 3 months after the 3rd dose*

(*For those aged 18 and older, an mRNA vaccine booster is preferred, but the J&J/Janssen COVID-19 vaccine may be considered in some situations. Those aged 12 years and older who are moderately or severely immunocompromised may opt to receive a 2nd booster of an mRNA vaccine at least 4 months after they receive the 1st booster. For teens aged 12-17, only the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine booster should be administered.)
 

For Moderna COVID-19 Vaccine: (Ages 18 and older)

  • 3 doses are required to complete the primary vaccine series
  • 2nd dose should be given 4 weeks (28 days) after the 1st dose
  • 3rd dose should be given at least 4 weeks (28 days) after the 2nd dose
  • 1 booster shot should be given at least 3 months after the 3rd dose**

(** For those aged 18 and older, an mRNA vaccine booster is preferred, but the J&J/Janssen COVID-19 vaccine may be considered in some situations. Adults aged 18 and older who are moderately or severely immunocompromised may opt to receive a 2nd booster of an mRNA vaccine at least 4 months after their 1st booster.)
 
For the moderately or severely immunocompromised ages 18 and older who received the J&J/Janssen Vaccine

To stay up to date on COVID-19 vaccinations, immunocompromised individuals ages 18 and older who received the 1-dose J&J/Janssen COVID-19 vaccine are advised to get a 2nd dose of an mRNA COVID-19 vaccine (Pfizer BioNTech or Moderna), plus an mRNA COVID-19 vaccine booster (Pfizer BioNTech or Moderna).

Schedule of vaccinations should be:

  • 1st dose – J&J/Janssen Vaccine
  • 2nd dose – Pfizer-BioNTech or Moderna COVID-19 Vaccine should be given at least 4 weeks (28 days) after 1st dose of J&J/Janssen Vaccine
  • 1 booster — Pfizer-BioNTech or Moderna COVID-19 Vaccine (in most situations***) should be given at least 2 months after the 2nd dose

(*** For those aged 18 and older, an mRNA vaccine booster is preferred, but the J&J/Janssen COVID-19 vaccine may be considered in some situations. Those aged 12 years and older who are moderately or severely immunocompromised may opt to receive a 2nd booster of an mRNA vaccine at least 4 months after they receive the 1st booster. For teens aged 12-17, only the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine booster should be administered.)

COVID-19 Boosters

For Varying Age Groups

(As of May 13, 2022)

Source: CDC

Eligible for One Booster

Everyone ages 12 years and older can get 1 booster after completing their COVID-19 vaccine primary series.

Eligible for Two Boosters
  • Adults ages 50 years and older
  • People ages 12 years and older who are moderately or severely immunocompromised
  • People who got 2 doses (1 primary dose and 1 booster) of Johnson & Johnson’s Janssen vaccine

 

If You Get a 2nd Booster:

  • Make sure it has been at least 4 months since your 1st COVID-19 booster.
  • Remember that 2nd boosters can only be Moderna or Pfizer-BioNTech (and for people ages 12 to 17 years, only Pfizer-BioNTech).
  • You can self-attest that you have a moderately or severely weakened immune system. This means you do not need any documentation that you have a weakened immune system to get a COVID-19 vaccine (including boosters) wherever they are offered.

 

Frequently Asked Questions

General questions about COVID-19

Answers to common questions about the COVID-19 pandemic, including information about symptoms and risk factors, prevention and self-care, and COVID-19 testing.

 

What are Long COVID or Post-COVID conditions?

The Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) defines Post-COVID conditions as:

"Some people who have been infected with the virus that causes COVID-19 can experience long-term effects from their infection, known as post-COVID conditions (PCC) or long COVID.”

“People call post-COVID conditions by many names, including: long COVID, long-haul COVID, post-acute COVID-19, post-acute sequelae of SARS CoV-2 infection (PASC), long term effects of COVID, and chronic COVID."

What do you need to know about Post-COVID conditions?

The Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) elaborates on what you need to know about Post-COVID conditions

  • Post-COVID conditions can include a wide range of ongoing health problems which can last for weeks, months, or years.
  • Post-COVID conditions often occur in people who had severe COVID-19 illness, but anyone who has been infected with COVID-19 can experience post-COVID conditions, even people who had mild illness or no symptoms from COVID-19.
  • People who become infected with COVID-19 but are unvaccinated may also be at higher risk of developing post-COVID conditions compared to vaccinated people who had breakthrough infections.
  • There is no single test for post-COVID conditions. While most people with post-COVID conditions may have tested positive or have evidence of being infected by COVID-19, in some cases, a person with post-COVID conditions may not have tested positive for the virus or might not have known that they were infected.
  • CDC and its partners are working to understand more about whom are affected by post-COVID conditions and why; as well as whether groups who were disproportionately impacted by COVID-19 are at higher risk.
What are the symptoms of Long COVID or Post-COVID conditions?

According to the CDC, people with post-COVID conditions (or long COVID) may experience a wide-range of symptoms which can last for more than 4 weeks (or even months) after infection. Some symptoms may go away but come back again. 

“Post-COVID conditions may not affect everyone the same way. People with post-COVID conditions may experience health problems from different types and combinations of symptoms happening over different lengths of time. Most patients’ symptoms slowly improve with time. However, for some people, post-COVID conditions may last months, and potentially years, after COVID-19 illness and may sometimes result in disability.”

The most commonly reported symptoms from people who experience post-COVID conditions are:

General symptoms

  • Tiredness or fatigue that interferes with daily life
  • Symptoms that get worse after physical or mental effort (also known as “post-exertional malaise”)
  • Fever

 

Respiratory and heart symptoms

  • Difficulty breathing or shortness of breath
  • Cough
  • Chest pain
  • Fast-beating or pounding heart (also known as heart palpitations)

 

Neurological symptoms

  • Difficulty thinking or concentrating (sometimes referred to as “brain fog”)
  • Headache
  • Sleep problems
  • Dizziness when you stand up (lightheadedness)
  • Pins-and-needles feelings
  • Change in smell or taste
  • Depression or anxiety

 

Digestive symptoms

  • Diarrhea
  • Stomach pain

 

Other symptoms

  • Joint or muscle pain
  • Rash
  • Changes in menstrual cycles
     
Should I keep wearing a mask?

With mask mandates being lifted and new COVID-19 infections decreasing in the U.S., the New York Times gives some common-sense advice. Wearing a mask and maintaining social distance around strangers are still good practices to keep, especially if: 

  • You are immunocompromised or if you are living with someone who is immunocompromised
  • You are unvaccinated or are spending time around those who are unvaccinated
  • You are in a hospital setting and are around vulnerable people
  • Infection rates in your area are high
Should I wear a mask outdoors?

According to the New York Times, there is little scientific evidence that face coverings provide added protection in outdoor settings. However, if you are outside but in a crowded space, you are probably not getting enough proper ventilation. In shoulder-to-shoulder situations, Dr. Asaf Bitton, Executive Director of Ariadne Labs and a primary care doctor, advises to keep your mask on. 

For concert settings, Erin Bromage (an associate professor of biology who studies infectious diseases at the University of Massachusetts Dartmouth and who has been helping touring music bands in assessing COVID-19 risks) advises to steer clear of standing-room-only areas (such as the pits at the very front of the stage) where the risk of transmission is high. 

Most outdoor concerts are generally safe, when not crowded. If the venue requires proof of vaccination or a recent negative COVID-19 test, then even better. 

Should I wear a mask in indoor spaces?

Most businesses have their own rules regarding masking. If the establishment requires customers to wear masks, then it will be best to abide by their policy. If wearing a mask is optional, three things need to be considered: the space, the crowd, and the airflow. 

Dr. Bromage advises to ask yourself these following questions:

  • How high are the ceilings?
  • Is the air moving?
  • Can I create my own little buffer of space? 

For small, crowded spaces, wearing a mask is still recommended. 

What if I have the sniffles?

Remember that COVID-19 is not the only virus floating around and infecting people. 30,000 Americans die from the flu virus during a typical season, and most are elderly people or are immunocompromised. To avoid transmitting any kind of virus if you’re feeling sick, either stay home or if you must go outside, wear a mask. 

What type of mask should I wear? 

For the best protection, high-quality masks are still advised by experts, even if you’re one-way masking. N95, KN95 and KF94 masks provide the best protection — just make sure that you’re not buying counterfeit ones. Cloth masks don’t provide as much protection while surgical masks often gape. 

What is a Self-Test or At-Home Test?

Self-tests or at-home tests can be taken regardless of your vaccination status or whether you’re experiencing symptoms or not. Self-tests and at-home tests can be taken anywhere and give results in minutes, unlike laboratory-based tests which may take days. However, self-tests and at-home tests cannot detect antibodies (which may suggest a previous infection). They are also unable to measure immunity levels. 

When should I take a COVID-19 Self-Test or At-Home Test?

If you’re experiencing COVID-19 symptoms, a self-test or at-home test should be taken immediately. 

If you are attending an indoor event or gathering, you are advised to take a self-test or at-home test immediately, or as close to the date or time of the event as possible, especially if you’re attending a gathering with unvaccinated young children, older adults, immunocompromised individuals, individuals at risk of severe disease or those who are not up to date with their COVID-19 vaccines. 

Where can I get a Self-Test or At-Home Test for COVID-19?

Currently, free tests can be ordered at COVIDtests.gov or through your local health departments. COVID-19 self-tests and at-home tests may also be purchased online, or in retail stores and pharmacies. For a list of authorized tests, visit FDA.gov.

How do I use a Self-Test or At-Home COVID-19 test?

Before using a self-test or at-home COVID-19 test, make sure to read the complete manufacturer’s instructions to get an accurate result. Wash your hands before doing the test, collect a nasal specimen, then do the test. 

What do the COVID-19 test results mean?

If you test POSITIVE for COVID-19, it means the test has detected the virus and that you have an infection. You are advised to:

-    Stay home for at least 5 days and isolate from other members of your household. 
-    Inform your close contacts about your positive result
-    Wear a well-fitting mask (a N95 or KN95 respirator is recommended), especially when around others.
-    Watch out for symptoms and emergency warning signs
-    Seek emergency medical attention if you experience the following:

  • trouble breathing
  • persistent pain or pressure in the chest
  • new confusion
  • inability to wake or stay awake
  • pale, grayish, or bluish skin, lips, or nail beds

If you test NEGATIVE for COVID-19, it means the test did not detect the virus. However, it does not rule out the possibility of an infection. Some tests are designed to be taken as a series. You may repeat the test 24 to 48 hours later. Multiple negative tests give the assurance that you do not have an infection.
 

Quarantine vs Isolation

With the omicron variant becoming a cause of concern, the CDC clarifies the difference between Quarantine vs Isolation.

According to the CDC, quarantine is needed for those who might have been exposed to the virus and may or may not have been infected. If you came in close contact with someone who has COVID-19, you need to quarantine if you:

  • are aged 18 and older and have completed the two-dose primary vaccine series but have not received a booster shot even when eligible;
  • received the single-dose J&J vaccine over 2 months ago but have not received a booster shot;
  • have not been vaccinated or have not completed a two-dose primary vaccine series

At the end of the five-day quarantine, COVID-19 testing is recommended with a negative test required in order to return to normal activities. If you test negative, you will still need to wear a well-fitting mask around others until 10 days after your close contact with someone who had COVID-19. If you develop symptoms or test positive, follow isolation recommendations provided by the CDC.

On the other hand, isolation is needed when one becomes sick or infected with the virus, even if asymptomatic. If you had COVID-19 and had symptoms, you need to isolate for at least 5 days. Monitor your symptoms and if you have an emergency warning sign (including trouble breathing), seek emergency medical care immediately.

Towards the end of the 5-day isolation period, the CDC advises to use an antigen test — if you get a positive result, continue to isolate for another five days; if you get a negative result, you may end isolation but continue to wear a well-fitting mask around others.

As a myeloma patient, 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) get vaccinated either with the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine or Moderna vaccine, whichever is available. These vaccines offer excellent benefits, and in general, have very limited and brief side effects or toxicities. Currently, the efficacy of these vaccines far outweighs any toxicity concerns.

Should I consult with my doctor before getting the COVID-19 vaccine?

Before getting the COVID-19 vaccine, it’s best to consult with your doctor first to discuss your medical condition in order to address questions and concerns which may arise before planning for your vaccination.

Should I get the same brand of vaccine for both shots?

CDC recommends getting the same vaccine for a two-dose primary vaccine series or an additional primary dose. Currently, the CDC only allows mixing and matching for booster shots (and only for people ages 18 and older). It would be best to take the same brand of vaccine for both doses but if availability is an issue, an alternate brand of vaccine may be considered but should be consulted and discussed with your doctor.

Should myeloma patients receive an additional primary shot and a booster shot?

About half of myeloma patients on active treatment have low and inadequate antibody levels. An additional primary shot followed by a booster shot can give that extra protection needed to save lives.

The CDC defines moderately or severely immunocompromised individuals as having the following conditions:

  • Individuals who have been receiving active cancer treatment for tumors or cancers of the blood
  • Individuals who have received an organ transplant within the last two years or are taking medicine that suppresses the immune system
  • Individuals who have received a stem cell transplant within the last two years or are taking medicine that suppresses the immune system
  • Individuals with moderate or severe primary immunodeficiency (such as DiGeorge syndrome, Wiskott-Aldrich syndrome)
  • Individuals with advanced or untreated HIV infection
  • Individuals on active treatment with high-dose corticosteroids or other drugs which may suppress immune response

However, the CDC advises talking to your healthcare provider about your medical condition and whether receiving an additional primary shot is right for you.

For some individuals who are moderately or severely immunocompromised (including myeloma patients), the CDC recommends an additional primary shot and a booster shot. Immunocompromised individuals who received the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine or Moderna vaccine should get an additional primary shot 28 days after receiving the second dose.

Give Where Most Needed

We use cookies on our website to support technical features that enhance your user experience.

We also use analytics & advertising services. To opt-out click for more information.