13% of small sample of fully vaccinated cancer patients died from COVID-19, study finds 

Cancer patients who experienced breakthrough COVID-19 infections had a 13 percent death rate, a study published Dec. 24 in the Annals of Oncology found.

Researchers collected data on 1,787 patients with cancer and COVID-19 between Nov. 1, 2020, and May 31, 2021, 1,656 of whom were unvaccinated, 77 partially vaccinated and 54 fully vaccinated.

Fully vaccinated patients who experienced breakthrough infections had a hospitalization rate of 65 percent, an ICU or mechanical ventilation rate of 19 percent, and a 13 percent death rate.

"Because measures of immunity are not routinely collected in clinical care, we don't know whether these were patients who mounted effective immune responses after vaccination; a lot of emerging data have suggested that patients with cancer, especially blood cancers, don't mount adequate protective antibody responses," said Jeremy Warner, MD, director of the CCC19 Research Coordinating Center, associate professor at Vanderbilt-Ingram Cancer Center and a senior author of the study. 

"It's important to note that many of the same factors that we identified prior to the availability of vaccination — age, comorbidities, performance status and progressing cancer — still seem to drive many of the bad outcomes."


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