Key Study Presented at ESMO Virtual Congress 2021 Shows Relative Risk of Non-Vaccinated Patients Being Infected with COVID-19 is 21.5 Times Larger Than That of Vaccinated Patients
Belong.Life, a developer of social and professional networks for managing and navigating various diseases and patient journeys, has published a study showing that the relative risk of non-vaccinated cancer patients being infected with COVID-19 is 21.5 times larger than that of those who are vaccinated. The research, which is the first large report on real-world data obtained voluntarily from cancer patients, was presented as a poster at the ESMO Virtual Congress 2021.
The COVID-19 pandemic continues to have a serious impact on cancer patient management. In December 2020, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), as well as various oncology groups including the American Society of Clinical Oncology (ASCO), the European Society for Medical Oncology (ESMO) and the American Cancer Society (ACS), made general vaccine recommendations for cancer patients
“Cancer patients are at an increased risk for severe COVID-19 symptoms, making vaccination for this group critical,” said Dr. Daniel Vorobiof, co-author of the study and Chief Medical Director of Belong.Life. “The results we received are encouraging, further stressing the necessity and safety of the vaccine for all populations, especially those at high-risk.”
The study surveyed over 1,000 Belong – Beating Cancer Together users who reported on their experiences after receiving the COVID-19 vaccine. Participants filled in a targeted survey that included demographic and clinical questions related to the patients’ cancers, their ongoing therapies, and their COVID-19 vaccination interactions. The survey took place before the Delta variant became globally widespread.
Of the surveyed patients, 90 percent of participants received a COVID-19 vaccination, with 82.2 percent obtaining mRNA vaccines. From the vaccinated group, only 4 out of 968 (0.41 percent) of patients developed COVID-19, while 9 out of the 101 (8.9%) non-vaccinated patients became infected. In addition, 97 percent of the vaccinated patients did not experience major side effects from the vaccine, with mild side effects consisting of a sore arm, headache, fatigue and high temperature, and lasting only 1 – 3 days. With 49 percent of participants receiving the vaccine while actively engaged in cancer treatment, 96 percent of those did not have to delay, interrupt or cease their therapies during the vaccination receipt period.
“We were very pleased to see the high level of vaccination among study participants which seems to provide a “firewall” against COVID-19 viral pandemic,” said Dr. Eli Sapir, co-author of the study, Belong expert and Director of Radiation Oncology at Assuta Ashdod Hospital. “I’m proud to work with Belong.Life as we continue to contribute to the quality of life and quality of care of patients worldwide by publishing important research projects that provide insight into the patient journey.”