Communication Is Key to Overcoming Resistance to COVID-19 Vaccination

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The three most common reasons patients with cancer surveyed at an outpatient infusion therapy clinic gave for not having received at least one dose of COVID-19 vaccine were:

  • My doctor has not told me to get the vaccine.
  • I do not think it is safe for me because I have cancer.
  • I’m afraid of the side effects.

The patients were surveyed as part of a research project conducted by The University of Texas Mays Cancer Center and University Health Systems, both in San Antonio. The results were reported in a poster presentation at the 2021 San Antonio Breast Cancer Symposium.1

The researchers arrived at the following conclusions: The three most common reasons patients with cancer declined COVID-19 vaccination could all be addressed by improvement in patient/physician communication regarding the known safety of the novel COVID-19 vaccines and the recommendation for such patients to be vaccinated.1

ASCO Guidance

ASCO Coronavirus Resources include the following statement (last updated December 3, 2021) on whether people undergoing active treatment for cancer should be vaccinated against COVID-192:

“At this time, patients undergoing treatment may be offered vaccination against COVID-19 as long as any components of the vaccine are not contraindicated. Oncologists have experience providing other types of vaccines to patients receiving treatment for cancer, including chemotherapy, immunotherapy, radiation therapy, or stem cell transplantation. Strategies such as providing the vaccine in between cycles of therapy and after appropriate waiting periods for patients receiving stem cell transplants and immune globulin treatment can be used to reduce the risks while maintaining the efficacy of vaccination. Limited evidence is available regarding vaccination of patients with cancer receiving active treatment, but ASCO is aware of no study that has shown any safety concern for such patients with vaccination.” 


1. Lathrop KI, Prieto E, Viveros S, et al: Declining the COVID-19 vaccination: An evaluation of why some high-risk cancer patients decline vaccination. 2021 San Antonio Breast Cancer Symposium. Poster. Presented December 7, 2021.

2. ASCO: COVID-19 Vaccines & Patients With Cancer. Last updated December 3, 2021. Available at Accessed February 1, 2022.


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Why Some Patients With Cancer Are Reluctant to Receive COVID-19 Vaccination: Survey Shows Need to Improve Patient-Physician Communication

“My doctor has not told me to get the vaccine.” That was the number one reason patients with cancer gave in a survey at an outpatient infusion therapy clinic for not having received at least one dose of the COVID-19 vaccine. Rivalling that reason were concerns about safety and fear of vaccine side...