Can immunocompromised patients get inoculated?

Updated: Mar 23, 2021 Print
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The novel coronavirus attacks the immune system, and the strength of one's immunity determines whether one can resist the virus' attack. Can tumor and AIDS patients who have low immunity get inoculated?

Medical experts say if the low-immunity group is likely to be exposed to the novel coronavirus and the potential benefit of getting inoculated is greater than the risk, they are fit for inoculation.

Low-immunity groups, such as tumor and AIDS patients and those with underlying medical conditions, are high-risk groups that should have priority in being protected because they face high risk of death once they are infected with the novel coronavirus, said Shao Yiming, chief AIDS expert at the Chinese Center for Disease Control and Prevention.

In principle, they are encouraged to get inoculated, Shao said. But they should consult their doctor if they are at an acute outbreak period of the underlying medical condition, have immunity deficiency or need chemotherapy and radiotherapy. If the answer is yes, they need to postpone their inoculation.

Experts say low-immunity populations should choose vaccines that use inactivated virus. The two inactivated vaccines and one adenovirus vector vaccine that China has granted conditional approval to are such vaccines.

However, experts note the protective effect of the vaccine may be weakened because of their low immunity. It will take longer time for them to produce protective antibodies, and they will face a higher risk of adverse reaction.

Tumor experts say that antitumor drugs will affect the immune effect of the vaccine, so doctors should communicate with patients and tell them the potential risks they face even if they get inoculated.

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