Healthcare Professionals Advise Cancer Patients, Survivors To Get COVID Vaccine

CBS4's Nancy Chen has more on the recommendation from health experts.

Video Transcript

ELIOTT RODRIGUEZ: And now to the coronavirus pandemic and the concerns cancer patients and survivors might have about getting the coronavirus vaccine. Several medical organizations are urging patients to get the shot, in part, because of their compromised immune systems. CBS 4's Nancy Chen has important information for patients.

- Olivia Lingister was looking forward to retirement when she was diagnosed with liver cancer. Then the pandemic hit.

OLIVIA LINGISTER: COVID has kind of really, really, really interrupted my life, you know? It's messed up everything. Losing my boyfriend, losing my best friend, it's been hard.

- Through it all, the 60-year-old New York grandmother has tried to stay positive and healthy. And she says, that's why she got the COVID-19 vaccine.

- I've been through everything, you know? The surgeries, the chemo. It's better to have a shot in the arm than to be on a ventilator.

- Many medical groups are recommending cancer patients and survivors get vaccinated when they can.

- Cancer can affect the immune system and can affect, for example, the blood or the lymph nodes. So the infection fighting capacity of our patients can be diminished.

- A recent study shows cancer patients with COVID-19 are 23% more likely to require hospitalization. Dr. Tobias Hohl is an infectious disease specialist with Memorial Sloan Kettering.

TOBIAS HOHL: Preventing COVID-19, it also can help cancer patients get through their cancer therapies as quickly as possible.

- The American Cancer Society suggests patients talk with their doctor before getting any vaccine. Some patients will need to time their shots around treatment.

- You need all the tools in your toolbox to help you to make sure that you can be healthy, you can remain healthy, and live a healthy life.

- Olivia says, getting the shot also brings her one step closer to being able to see her grandson after a long year apart. Nancy Chen, CBS News, New York.

- Now, doctors say, there is no reason to believe that the vaccine is not safe for cancer patients or that patients would have different side effects. What we don't know yet is how effective it will be in different cancer groups.