We know that people affected by cancer may be feeling heightened concern about COVID-19 and whether or not to get vaccinated.

Update: Government announces second boosters for vulnerable people

Health Minister Andrew Little and COVID-19 Response Minister Dr Ayesha Verrall have formally announced the criteria for a second booster.

Second booster for those at risk of severe illness from COVID-19

  • A second booster is recommended for those at increased risk of severe illness from COVID-19 – a minimum of 6 months after a first booster. 
  • For those who are not considered at risk of severe illness from COVID-19, a two-dose primary course and a booster dose provides very good protection against severe illness from COVID-19.

The following people are recommended to receive a second booster as a priority: 

  • people aged 65 years and over
  • Māori and Pacific peoples aged 50 years and over
  • residents of aged care and disability care facilities
  • severely immunocompromised people who received a three-dose primary course and a fourth dose as a first booster (noting this would be a fifth dose for these people)
  • people aged 16 years and over who have a medical condition that increases the risk of severe breakthrough COVID-19 illness and
  • people aged 16 years and over who live with disability with significant or complex health needs or multiple comorbidities.

Specific information for people with cancer:

  • The following are included: Non-haematological cancer including those diagnosed within the past 5 years or on chemotherapy, radiotherapy, immunotherapy or targeted anti-cancer therapy (active treatment or recently completed) or with advanced disease regardless of treatment. Survivors of childhood cancer.

 In addition, a second booster is available for:

  • all people aged over 50 years
  • health, aged care and disability workers aged over 30 years.

These groups can book an appointment for a booster dose through Book My Vaccine from Tuesday 28 June 2022, or by calling the COVID Vaccination Healthline on 0800 28 29 26 (8am to 8pm, 7 days a week).

Covid-19 vaccine and cancer

We know that people affected by cancer and their family/whānau will be anxious about getting the COVID-19 vaccination. Everyone over 12 years old can get the vaccination now.

You can find your nearest vaccination centre and book an appointment at:

Go the Book my Vaccine website

Video Link: https://www.youtube.com/embed/-d96FGJmbR4?autoplay=0&modestbranding=1&rel=0

Te Aho o Te Kahu / Cancer Control Agency recommendations

Te Aho o Te Kahu (the Cancer Control Agency) has information for people with cancer and the Covid-19 vaccination.

They recommend:

  • People with cancer are at an increased risk of getting COVID-19 and have a greater risk of serious infection if they do get COVID-19
  • People with cancer should get the COVID-19 vaccination.
  • Talk to your cancer doctor, as depending on what treatment you are on, they may want to time the vaccine to be delivered at a certain point in your treatment cycle.
  • If you have been discharged from hospital services, we recommend you talk to your GP if you have questions or concerns.
  • The Ministry of Health is approving and recommending a third dose of the Pfizer Covid-19 vaccine for people who are immunocompromised.

    Read more on the Ministry of Health website.

Te Aho o Te Kahu / Cancer Control Agency resources and more information

Te Aho o Te Kahu / Cancer Control Agency has published information and advice for people with cancer and their whānau under the Red traffic light setting.

There is also prepared guidance on vaccinations for people with cancer.

We recommend the website from Hei Āhuru Mōwai for more information in Te Reo.

Overseas experience with cancer and COVID-19 vaccination

Medical professionals in other countries have had a lot more experience with COVID-19 and it's impact on people with cancer.

Earlier this year Dr Chris Jackson spoke with UK oncologist Dr Sanjay Popat about vaccination  to highlight the importance of protecting people with cancer.

Video Link: https://www.youtube.com/embed/m-BHDS5JY3g?autoplay=0&modestbranding=1&rel=0
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We know that going through cancer is tough and can raise many questions. You are not alone.

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Last updated: June 28, 2022