News | Coronavirus (COVID-19) | December 02, 2021

Almost two-thirds of U.S. states failed to prioritize cancer patients for COVID-19 vaccinations, despite recommendations from the CDC

Figure 1. Proportion of U.S. states offering equivalent early prioritization for COVID vaccination for patients with cancer and patients over the age of 65 as recommended by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

December 2, 2021 — Almost two-thirds of U.S. states failed to prioritize cancer patients for COVID-19 vaccinations, despite recommendations from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), according to a study being presented today at the annual meeting of the Radiological Society of North America (RSNA).

Cancer patients are particularly vulnerable to the effects of COVID-19. Both the disease and treatments like chemotherapy and radiation therapy can leave their immune systems in a weakened state.

Available vaccines are highly effective, but initial supply limitations forced the CDC’s Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices to make difficult patient prioritization decisions. People ages 16 to 64 with high-risk conditions were grouped into the final part of the first phase, along with people ages 65 to 74. However, this group encompassed 129 million people nationally, leading many states to sub-prioritize.

For the new study, researchers sought to determine the proportion of states that elected to follow CDC recommendations. They identified every states’ COVID vaccination webpage through keyword-based internet search and set out to identify information about vaccination for cancer patients.

While 43 states included cancer among criteria for vaccination, only 17 gave patients with cancer the same immunization priority as patients aged 65 to 74, and a mere eight precisely defined a qualifying cancer diagnosis.

“Although the CDC recommended that all states consider people with significant medical conditions to have equal vaccination priority with people over the age of 65, we found that nearly two-thirds of states did not give equal vaccination priority to patients with cancer,” said study lead author Rahul Prasad, M.D., from The Ohio State University Comprehensive Cancer Center in Columbus, Ohio.

Forty-two states did not clearly define the criteria for cancer patients to receive priority vaccination. This lack of clarity is problematic, Prasad noted, due to considerable variation within the cancer patient population.

“You could have someone diagnosed with breast cancer at age 40 who is now 55, in remission, and wondering if they’re eligible,” Prasad said. “On the other side of the spectrum, someone newly diagnosed with low-risk prostate cancer may not be particularly immunocompromised if they haven’t started treatment yet.”

Of the eight states that defined a qualifying cancer diagnosis for vaccine prioritization, six limited it to patients currently receiving treatment.

Prasad said the shortfall in the number of states that followed the CDC recommendations is partly due to attempts at streamlining vaccination efforts.

“I don’t think anyone intended to push people to the back of the line,” he said. “The efforts were well intentioned, but what ended up happening was that the CDC governing bodies’ definition of high-risk medical conditions was too broad.”

Early in the fall, the CDC approved a booster shot for seniors and high-risk individuals. Prasad said that these booster shots offer an opportunity to better mitigate disparities in vaccine access.

“It’s especially critical this time around to make sure these most at-risk people are getting their boosters in a timely fashion,” Prasad said.

Co-author is Joshua Palmer, M.D.

For more information: www.rsna.org

Additional RSNA21 conference coverage can be found here.

 

Related COVID Content:

COVID-19 Fallout May Lead to More Cancer Deaths

Kawasaki-like Inflammatory Disease Affects Children With COVID-19

FDA Adds Myocarditis Warning to COVID mRNA Vaccine Clinician Fact Sheets

CMS Now Requires COVID-19 Vaccinations for Healthcare Workers by January 4

Cardiac MRI of Myocarditis After COVID-19 Vaccination in Adolescents

Small Number of Patients Have Myocarditis-like Illness After COVID-19 Vaccination

Overview of Myocarditis Cases Caused by the COVID-19 Vaccine

Case Study Describes One of the First U.S. Cases of MIS-C

NIH-funded Project Wants to Identify Children at Risk for MIS-C From COVID-19

Related Content

News | Nuclear Imaging

January 26, 2022 — On January 24, the Emergency Response Team (ERT) of Nuclear Medicine Europe (NMEu) communicated that ...

Time January 26, 2022
arrow
Sponsored Content | Videos | Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI)

With the recent launch of the Magnifico Open, Italian company Esaote has entered the open MRI whole body space. ITN had ...

Time January 24, 2022
arrow
Feature | Ultrasound Imaging | By Lennard M. Gettz, and Noelle Cutter, Ph.D. Edited by Robert L. Bard, M.D. DABR, FASL

Since the advent of ultrasound scanning in the 1950s, the global movement to develop and expand its diagnostic features ...

Time January 21, 2022
arrow
Feature | Breast Imaging | By Bhvita Jani

The rising global incidence rates of breast cancer, coupled with the severe backlog of women requiring breast cancer ...

Time January 20, 2022
arrow
News | Artificial Intelligence

January 20, 2022 — Leading health tech firm Qure.ai has gained 510(k) clearance from the Food and Drug Administration ...

Time January 20, 2022
arrow
Feature | Radiology Business | By Jef Williams

The Great Resignation has impacted every industry, including ours. While this movement will be studied for years to come ...

Time January 20, 2022
arrow
Feature | Vendor Neutral Archive (VNA)

Vendor neutral archives (VNAs) have become a staple within the healthcare IT system. At the Radiological Society of ...

Time January 20, 2022
arrow
Feature | Coronavirus (COVID-19) | By Avielle Siegel, Paul J. Chang, David M. Paushter, et al.

A 26-year-old man with history of diabetes and hypertension presented with 7 days of fever, chills, nausea, intractable ...

Time January 19, 2022
arrow
Sponsored Content | Case Study | Ultrasound Imaging

The most common cause of chronic liver disease? Nonalcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD). With 25% of the world’s ...

Time January 19, 2022
arrow
News | Prostate Cancer

January 19, 2022 — For the first time, researchers led by a team from the UCLA Jonsson Comprehensive Cancer Center used ...

Time January 19, 2022
arrow
Subscribe Now