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COVID VACCINE & IMMUNOTHERAPY

Forums General Melanoma Community COVID VACCINE & IMMUNOTHERAPY

  • Post
    Steve33
    Participant
    Hi All,

    Has anyone received any concrete guidance from their doctors are see articles on receiving the COVID vaccine while receiving immunotherapy?

    I became eligible to receive the vaccine this week through my immunotherapy infusion center in Florida. I reached out to my doc @ MDA for guidance and wasn’t provided with much of a recommendation. They just said they don’t have any meaningful data regarding how the vaccine behaves for immunotherapy patients so they can’t recommend anything but they aren’t against receiving it (basically a liability CYA).

    I finished adjuvant Opdivo in Nov 2020. Other than the history of melanoma (NED for 1 year), I’m very healthy and 34.

    Steve

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  • Replies
      JudiAU
      Participant
      Lucky you. I am undergoing immunotherapy and I’d take in a heartbeat.

      I have asked and received the same answer. There is really no data either way. Although my doctor did imply with they would likely have a better grasp on risks by the time it came to me.

      I will say that steroids are known to enhance the side effects of vaccines. It doesn’t mean that you are forbidden but the likely hood of side effects are enhanced. I don’t know if you taken them are not but I had to start and have been trying to slowly reduce so that I was steroid free by the time it matters.

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      ThinkingPositive
      Participant
      Cutaneous
      Here is the response from the Society for Immunotherapy of Cancer: “SITC supports SARS-CoV-2 vaccination in cancer patients receiving immunotherapy”. More info at their website https://www.sitcancer.org/aboutsitc/press-releases/2020/sitc-statement-sars-cov-2-vaccination-cancer-immunotherapy

      Cindy

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        JudiAU
        Participant
        Thank you. That is very helpful. It gives me added incentive to get off steroids.

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        Steve33
        Participant
        Thank you for the link!  Very helpful

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      lkb
      Participant
      Stopped Pembro last June, had surgery in August 2020 and have been NED for three months. My oncology team recommends getting the vaccine.

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      tkoss
      Participant
      i took my first hit of Moderna yesterday. i have just finished 24x Opvido.  so 18 hours later, no side effects.

      my big question for my docs was immo and covid and whether one exacerbated the other.  The  answer was…..confusing or rather , inconclusive .  Some said it made no difference and others said immo makes a covid episode worse (cytokine storm).

      as to the vaccine, first my onc suggested i get it. i have read nothing about any side effects of Moderna much less Moderna in conjunction with Opvido.

      and as i said, 18  hours later, no side effects.

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      tkoss
      Participant
      BTW because i was in treatment i was easily afforded access to vaccination thru my clinic

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      mrbill16323
      Participant
      I have stage IIIC Malignant melanoma and after surgeries, now in my 6th cycle with Keytruda. Both my surgical and oncological doctors have advised me to be innoculated for COVID19. Enthusiastically awaiting my chance to do so.

       

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        Steve33
        Participant
        I took my first vaccine shot 2.5 days ago. I developed a fever about 18hrs later. Fever lasted about 24 hrs then subsided. Overall, my experience with COVID vaccine is very similar to what I’ve experienced with flu vaccine.

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      tkoss
      Participant
      update;  I have developed persistent hip pain 4 weeks after last Opdivo infusion.  I never had this problem once in 64 years, certainly not while taking Opvido for 1 year.  I asked Onc if there was a Opdivo ‘hangover’ or withdrawal syndrome

       

      still waiting for that answer.

       

       

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      Bubbles
      Participant
      For what it’s worth – http://chaoticallypreciselifeloveandmelanoma.blogspot.com/2021/01/new-year-new-career-vaccines.html

      Stay safe.  Wear a mask.  Get a vaccine if your doc approves and you can!!!  celeste

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        tkoss
        Participant
        just talked to doc who assured me there is no Opdivo hangover or withdrawl.  I had to ask.

        I guess I will be plagued with the idea that every little twitch or itch will be melanoma.

        I will say, being only too human , there has always been times when I thought my questions too dumb to ask and thus not asked them or I didn’t get the complete answer it was looking for. I was not persistent in my pursuit of info. Regardless of everyone else’s experience I find docs and nurses sometimes poor communicators, providing open ended answers and dare I say it, sometime not very articulate or even understandable.

        That would be my main critique of my experience. I am not even saying my experience of communications was bad, but there were times when it was a problem

         

        I assume this is ongoing issue in current med ed.

         

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        tkoss
        Participant
        after a trip to urgent care for hip pain, persistent and very painful, along with constipation, got blood work and xray. nothing to note.

         

        so I talked to onc again,  this time I was pretty plain..i hurt.  he was blunt in response.  take ibuporferin.  he also said something about immune therapy and arthritis but i didn’t catch all of it..

        but……..3 ibuporefrin worked ….no more hip pain…….

         

         

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      ThinkingPositive
      Participant
      Cutaneous
      Here is the response from my oncologist about COVID-19 vax: “Nobody know the right answer in terms of timing of the vaccine with IO therapy. We are telling people to get it two weeks before IO therapy due to any potential inflammatory response”

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      tkoss
      Participant
      my onc said it would happen

       

      2nd Moderna shot. lots of local pain at injection site, upper body soreness, some fatigue. 24 hours later.

       

       

      i wonder why 2nd shot would be so much worse than the 1st.  any ideas?

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      JudiAU
      Participant
      Argh, cancer clinic sent an email yesterday that they had not idea when they would be given vaccines and that we should try and be vaccinated by any means necessary. I’m picturing myself in a Spy vs. Spy panel.

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      MikeInAK
      Participant
      Steve,

      I finished my immunotherapy of Optivo in January 2020.   I got my COVID-19 vaccine shots on January 22 and February 12, 2021.  No real side effects or adverse reactions to the vaccines.   Glad I was able to get them.   My oncology team encouraged me to get vaccinated, I am high risk as I have a history of respitory illness and susceptibility to pnenomia.

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      Juan Arias
      Participant
      Inmunotherapy since September, I took the 1st dose of Sinovac Vaccine (China Lab), no problems at all. My Onc recommend Sinovac cause he said “It was developed according to traditional way”. I can choose between Pfizer and Sinovac, and chose the Chinesse. I know many Americans cannot choise Chinese Vaccine ’cause political issues, but I hope who has create the problem help us to finish it. https://forum.melanoma.org/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_good.gif

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      soonerjenn14
      Participant
      I’m late to the party, but I am currently on the ipi/nivo combo and my oncologist encouraged me to get the vaccine. I got my first hit of Moderna on 3/3/2021 and I had no side effects, only a sore arm. Funny enough, others that I know got their same vaccine the same day, the other 4 all had fatigue, nausea, and fever/chills. Not sure if it’s the immuno or I just got lucky, but I felt fine. Hoping my second shot is as easy as the first!

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      KrossCanada
      Participant
      This is so interesting. I’m on ipi/nivo combo and my oncologist did not recommend getting a vaccine since they do not know effects. I’m in Canada, maybe that matters. It’s very frustrating since I feel more at risk while on treatment and prednisone.

       

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        ed williams
        Participant
        Hi there KrossCanada, following link from recent oncology virtual conference had an interesting question and answer session and first question was on covid-19 vaccine while on immunotherapy and specific part on steroid use as well. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DpN7iKQV-Sc&list=PLOnM_erAQqIBj54P2wviZ3WxV_okkn58Y&index=9

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        KrossCanada
        Participant
        Thank you for this link. That is so helpful. I’m staying on 10mg prednisone for the time being and I’m hoping to restart treatment. I will bring this up with my oncologist again.

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      soonerjenn14
      Participant
      Quick update – about 8 days after my shot of Moderna I developed what they refer to as “COVID arm”. I saw my oncologist Friday and he said it was likely due to my revved-up immune system, as it seems only 0.8% of people get this. It’s getting better now, but my arm got pretty swollen and red/feverish. He also mentioned there were no studies on COVID vaccines + immunotherapy so no telling for sure if that is actually the case, but thought I would share. Scheduled to get my second shot on 3/31, I will post if there is anything significant. Take care and stay safe, everyone!

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      gopher38
      Participant
      Had the J&J vaccine.  No side effects for me.  Hope it’s effective.

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      Mark 2020
      Participant
      Thank you all for your comments.  These really do help me.  I had very good response to the Yervoy/Opdivo treatments and am now 8 months into the monthly double dose of Opdivo.  CatScans show I’m “basically” cancer free with very little side effects.  Right now I am more afraid of the Opdivo / vaccine combo than I am of the virus.  I checked out the links you posted where they recommend getting the vacine but they all have to say “but it’s too soon to know for sure”.   I really respect those of you who have had the vaccine and kept us posted.  Thank you again.  I hope to make up my mind soon.  I see my onc tomorrow.

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      JudiAU
      Participant
      Had four combo doses and about a year of single dose. Had a first dose Pfizer Sunday with a sore arm and no other side effects. Not quite as bad as my flu shot this year. Vaccines are still hard to get here and I “mostly” had permission. I lucked into the appointment and had infusion two days later. Had the infusion and no reaction. Still on 2.5 mg corticosteroid. Finally got permission to end it!!!

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        Mark 2020
        Participant
        Thank you JudiAU.  Could you keep me posted if your blood work changes.  Mine have been pretty steady throughout this process.  I’m 64 so I should be able to get the vaccine now without too much delay.  My onc recommends getting it halfway between infusions but I don’t think they are very lenient with the appointments.

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      JudiAU
      Participant
      I had my second Pfizer shot early Sunday. I definitely had more of a reaction this time. Fever/chills in the middle of the night which turned into a bad dream sequence. I took 500mg of Tylenol the next morning which helped. I was off all day, vague headache/tired/felt hot or cold. I kept taking Tylenol during the day, mostly stayed in bed. Had a much better night of sleep, feel normal this morning. Still taking 1mg steroid which I will end tomorrow. My house looks terrible! Nine year old will start a little in person school next week and I and so grateful to be vaccinated so he will be able to go.

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