COVID-19 Vaccination and Myeloma Patients

October 22, 2021

Latest Update:

The CDC on Thursday approved booster shots of the Moderna and J&J COVID-19 vaccines for those 65 years and over, aged 18 to 64 with health conditions that increase their risk of severe COVID, and people aged 18 to 64 who have frequent exposure to COVID because of where they live or work (the same criteria that were used last month when the Pfizer booster was greenlit), as early as today. The agency also endorsed the so-called mix-and-match strategy, which enables those fully immunized with one company’s vaccine to receive a different vaccine for their booster shot.

Should children get the COVID-19 vaccine?

The CDC recommends everyone 12 years and older should get a COVID-19 vaccination to help protect against COVID-19. On October 20, the White House announced it is has procured enough of Pfizer’s Covid vaccine to inoculate all 28 million 5- to 11-year-olds in the U.S. The Food and Drug Administration and Centers for Disease Control and Prevention are expected to authorize the shots within a few weeks. The FDA and CDC’s vaccine advisory committees are holding key meetings to review Pfizer’s data on kids Oct. 26 and Nov. 2, respectively, with decisions by agency leaders shortly thereafter.

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.

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.)

Has the Johnson & Johnson vaccine become available again?

The Johnson & Johnson (J&J) vaccine is again available with now a special warning about very rare serious blood clotting problems in younger women. The first cases were in women ages 18-48. The blood clotting problems occurred within the first two weeks following vaccination. The J&J vaccine has the advantage of being a single shot as well as being highly effective in reducing serious disease complications.

Should myeloma patients receive a third booster shot?

About half of myeloma patients on active treatment have low and inadequate antibody levels. The booster can give that extra protection needed to save lives. 

The CDC federal advisory panel voted unanimously to recommend an additional dose of coronavirus vaccines for some immunocompromised individuals (including patients with myeloma) enabling those in this category to get another dose of either the Pfizer-BioNTech or Moderna vaccines. See Dr. Durie’s blog on the topic.

The Moderna and J&J boosters will also be fully approved very soon, meaning that the boosters will be available to all vulnerable and elderly Americans.

Is it okay to mix and match booster shots?

The New York Times reports that the FDA also may soon authorize COVID booster shots of vaccines different from the ones that people originally received. This “mix and match” approach can improve access, depending upon the local availability of a particular vaccine. 

How effective are the current vaccines against the COVID-19 variants?

The current Pfizer and MODERNA two-dose vaccines are very effective against new COVID-19 variants including the Delta variant. Severe illness and hospitalization are prevented at the same level of benefit. However, there is some risk of milder infection with the highly infectious Delta variant. Therefore, full protections are still recommended even for the fully vaccinated when and where community levels of the Delta variant are high to stay safe.

The Johnson & Johnson (J&J) vaccine has produced excellent results in trials to reduce severe disease and hospitalizations.Currently, more data are required to assess the benefit of the J&J vaccine against the Delta variant.

COVID-19 Vaccinations At A Glance (as of October 22, 2021) Source: CDC: https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/vaccines/faq.html

COVID-19 Vaccinations At A Glance (as of October 22, 2021)

Source: CDC: https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/vaccines/faq.html

  Pfizer Moderna J&J
  • Immune-compromised individuals (including myeloma patients)
  • Healthcare workers
  • At-risk individuals
  • FDA + CDC-approved
  • Two doses
  • Plus, booster
  • Mix + match OK
  • FDA +CDC- approved
  • Two doses
  • Plus, booster
  • Mix + match OK
  • FDA + CDC-approved
  • One dose
  • Plus, booster
  • Mix + match OK
65 years old and over
  • FDA + CDC-approved
  • Two doses
  • Plus, booster
  • Mix + match OK
  • FDA + CDC-approved
  • Two doses
  • Plus, booster
  • Mix + match OK
  • FDA + CDC-approved
  • One dose
  • Plus, booster
  • Mix + match OK
Adults 
18 years and over

 
  • FDA + CDC-approved
  • Two doses
  • Plus, booster
  • Mix + match OK
  • FDA + CDC-approved
  • Two doses
  • Plus, booster
  • Mix + match OK
  • FDA + CDC-approved
  • One dose
  • Plus, booster
  • Mix + match OK
Adolescents 
12-17 years old

 
  • FDA + CDC-approved
  • Two doses
  • Pending
 
Children
5-11 years old

 
  • FDA + CDC approved
  • A two-dose primary series, three weeks apart
  • Smaller needles
   

 

Further reading

Death of Colin Powell Highlights Need for Booster Shots

Common Sense and Resilience in the Time of COVID

Let's All Stay Safe Over the Fourth of July Weekend - IMF Chairman Dr. Brian G.M. Durie urges myeloma patients to continue to take precautions as cases of the COVID-19 Delta variant rise.

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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Source URL: https://www.myeloma.org/covid-19-vaccination-myeloma-patients