Preparing for your COVID-19 Vaccine: What to Ask your Provider

Patients with cancer should strongly consider getting the COVID-19 vaccine when it is available. If you are currently undergoing cancer treatment, you should speak to your provider about receiving the vaccine. It may be best to prepare a list of questions prior to speaking with them. Some questions you may want to ask are:

  • Should I get the COVID-19 vaccine if I am currently undergoing cancer treatment?
  • Are their certain individuals undergoing cancer treatment that shouldn’t get the vaccine?
  • Should cancer survivors who are not in active treatment receive the COVID-19 vaccine?
  • Where can I get the COVID-19 vaccine? Does this cancer center plan on administering the vaccine to patients?
  • I have had reactions to other vaccines, is it still safe for me to get the COVID-19 vaccine?
  • I had a reaction to chemotherapy, is that an indication I may have a reaction to the COVID-19 vaccine?
  • I am currently undergoing chemotherapy, do I need to wait until it is complete to get the COVID-19 vaccine?
  • Should I wait until I am done with my radiation treatments to get the COVID-19 vaccine, or is it okay to get it while I’m under treatment?
  • If I am enrolled in a clinical trial can I get the vaccine?
  • Should my caregiver get the COVID-19 vaccine? Is there any risk for me if they do?

Having this conversation with your provider is important. It is essential to educate yourself as much as possible. Whether or not you get the vaccine is up to you, but it is best to have as much information as possible to make an informed decision. You will want to be prepared and have a plan ready for when you are eligible to get the vaccine.

If you are not currently undergoing treatment but have questions about receiving the vaccine, there are several good resources available online. Below are a few links that may help answer your questions.

National Comprehensive Cancer Network

American Society of Clinical Oncology

National Cancer Institute

Courtney is a Radiation Therapist at Penn Medicine in the Department of Radiation Oncology.  She completed her Bachelor’s Degree in Radiation Therapy from Indiana University, and received her Master’s Degree in Public Health with concentrations in Health Management and Policy and Health Education and Promotion from Benedictine University.  She has fourteen years of experience in radiation therapy, which includes an expertise in proton therapy and pediatrics.  Courtney has worked with OncoLink since 2014, but joined part-time in 2020 as a Global Education Coordinator and is currently developing virtual reality training modules that have been used to train radiation therapists both domestically and internationally.

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