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Top Cancer Organizations Urge President Biden To Prioritize Covid-19 Vaccines For People With Cancer

Today a group of 130 cancer centers and organizations, spearheaded by the American Association for Cancer Research (AACR), sent a letter to President Biden and senior members of the CDC asking them to prioritize Covid-19 vaccinations for people with cancer and cancer survivors.

Overwhelming evidence now shows that people undergoing cancer therapy are at a higher risk of severe illness and dying of Covid-19 should they contract the coronavirus. In addition, people who have survived certain types of cancer such as blood cancer are also at higher risk from Covid-19, even if they have finished their treatments.

The CDC recognizes that people with cancer are at higher risk of severe outcomes or death from Covid-19, putting people with cancer in priority group “1c,” prioritizing them for vaccination one category down from healthcare workers and residents of long-term care facilities.

But President Biden recently shook up his vaccination plan, calling for an expansion of the priority groups established by the CDC, leading to some states inviting all of those over 65 to get vaccinated.

“States opening vaccination up to anyone over 65 would be fine in a time of plentiful vaccines, but we’re dealing with limited supply,” said Jon Retzlaff, Chief Policy Officer of the AACR. “People with cancer and some cancer survivors are at a greater need and they may not get the vaccines they need if we open up the criteria without having enough supply. In a time of limited supply, you have to let people at high risk to the front of the line,” added Retzlaff.

The letter, led by the AACR and signed by numerous leading cancer centers, research institutes and patient advocacy organizations calls for urgent action to get all people with active cancer and cancer survivors, priority access to Covid-19 vaccination.

“Today Dana-Farber proudly joined 130 scientific organizations and cancer centers with the AACR urging the Biden administration to prioritize access to Covid-19 vaccines for cancer patients and survivors,” said Laurie H. Glimcher, MD, President and CEO of Dana-Farber Cancer Institute in Boston, MA. “We know that patients with cancer, and especially those undergoing treatment, are particularly vulnerable to Covid-19 infection. We must continue to protect those most at risk while vaccines are in limited supply,” said Glimcher.

This is not the first call to prioritize people with cancer and cancer survivors, with the AACR and other organizations first calling for people with cancer to be prioritized back in December 2020. But the new letter, also sent to state governors and department of health leaders and now signed by over 100 organizations representing tens of thousands of scientists, physicians and patient advocates hopes to make a bigger impact.

“130 organizations across the country have shown so much joint enthusiasm and support for this issue – all have agreed that people with cancer and survivors should be prioritized in the vaccine process over this broader effort to vaccinate >65 and older,” said Retzlaff.

This article is auto-generated by Algorithm Source: www.forbes.com

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