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COVID-19 Vaccine for Patients

  • Vacuna contra COVID-19 para pacientes


  • collage of employees receiving COVID-19 vaccinations - 2

  • Last updated February 24, 2021

    COVID-19 Vaccinations Are Currently Limited

    While Massachusetts has announced new groups eligible for a COVID-19 vaccine, the state has also paused vaccine distributions to hospitals for additional first-dose patient vaccinations. This means that Dana-Farber does not currently have enough vaccine supply to expand patient vaccinations to all eligible groups. We are eager to expand COVID-19 vaccinations to more cancer patients, but we cannot do so until we have adequate vaccine supply from the state.

    We will frequently update this page with the latest vaccine news, which is rapidly changing.

    Please Sign Up for Patient Gateway

    If you are not already signed up, we urge you to take a few minutes to enroll in Patient Gateway (at www.patientgateway.org). Having a free account on Patient Gateway will make it easier for you to schedule a COVID-19 vaccine appointment when you are eligible to get one.

    To get started, visit Patient Gateway and click Enroll Now. For step-by-step instructions, download our How to Enroll in Patient Gateway guide.

    For more details about the site, check Dana-Farber's Patient Gateway overview.

    COVID-19 Vaccine FAQ for Cancer Patients

    Can my caregiver also get a COVID-19 vaccine from Dana-Farber?

    • Not at this time. We are aware of the recent announcement that Massachusetts will allow vaccinations at certain sites for younger companions who accompany older residents to vaccine appointments. This guidance does not apply to smaller sites like Dana-Farber. It is only available at the state’s mass vaccination sites: Fenway Park in Boston; Gillette Stadium in Foxboro; Eastfield Mall in Springfield; and the DoubleTree Hotel in Danvers.
    • We are eager to expand vaccinations to more cancer patients, but we cannot do so until the state of Massachusetts allows and we have adequate supply of vaccine.

    How can I get a list of my comorbidities, or medical conditions? 

    • The after-visit summary that you get after each Dana-Farber appointment should list any health issues that you may have. If you don't have this summary on hand, you can also get this information by logging into your Patient Gateway account at www.patientgateway.org.
    • When you sign up for a Massachusetts vaccine appointment, you do not need a formal note or certification about your medical conditions from your Dana-Farber doctor. You will simply need to fill out and sign this attestation form confirming that you meet current vaccine eligibility guidelines.

    When will I be able to get the vaccine?

    • Our ability to offer vaccines to patients depends on the amount of vaccine we get from Massachusetts and the state's direction on who is eligible.

    • If you are able to schedule a COVID-19 vaccination outside of Dana-Farber before you hear from us, we encourage you to get the vaccine at that other site. Learn more at www.mass.gov/COVIDvaccine.

    What if I don’t live in Massachusetts?

    Check with your state’s COVID-19 vaccine effort. New England state websites include:

    How are you prioritizing vaccinations for patients?

    Dana-Farber must follow the rules set out by the state of Massachusetts for phases of the vaccine rollout. We will follow state guidelines and prioritize those patients who are most at risk from COVID-19. To learn more about the state's phases, visit www.mass.gov/COVIDvaccine.

    Will you be giving the vaccine during infusion when I visit Dana-Farber?

    No. Our vaccination clinic will be held separate from your cancer care. This is to ensure that we can safely give the vaccine to a large number of patients without wasting any of the supply.

    • If you are scheduled for a vaccination at Dana-Farber, your care team will not be present at your vaccination appointment. Our vaccine clinic is operated by trained vaccine personnel.
    • Please do not call your Dana-Farber doctor's office to ask about the COVID-19 vaccine, as they cannot schedule vaccinations at this time.

    What if I don’t live near Dana-Farber's vaccination location?

    If you are unable to travel to Dana-Farber's vaccination clinic when you are eligible for a COVID-19 vaccine, visit your state’s vaccine website to determine where a COVID-19 vaccine may be available near you. If you are in Massachusetts, visit www.mass.gov/COVIDvaccine.

    I am no longer in active treatment at Dana-Farber, but I still have active disease and am seen regularly at Dana-Farber. Can I get the vaccine from Dana-Farber?

    Not at this time. Based on our allotment of vaccines, we will follow state guidelines and prioritize those cancer patients who are most at risk from COVID-19. For many cancer patients and survivors, vaccines may be available to you in your community before they are available at Dana-Farber. To learn more about when you might be eligible, visit www.mass.gov/COVIDvaccine.

    Can I choose which vaccine I get?

    We are not able to offer a choice of which vaccine version you will get if you are scheduled for a vaccination at Dana-Farber. Our vaccine supply from the state is limited and unpredictable from week to week, so you will receive whichever vaccine is available on the day of your appointment.

    We want to make sure that we can offer this important protection to as many of our patients as possible, as quickly as possible, so we strongly encourage you to get whichever vaccine is available to you. Studies show that all COVID-19 vaccines that have been authorized for emergency use by the FDA are highly effective.

    Should I get a COVID-19 vaccine if I've recently had cellular therapy (such as CAR T-cell therapy) or a stem cell transplant?

    Yes, but only after 100 days has passed since your transplant or cellular therapy. In fact, we recommend that all transplant and cellular therapy patients strongly consider a COVID-19 vaccine when 100 days have elapsed from their transplant or cellular therapy. We anticipate that some transplant and cellular therapy patients may be able to receive the vaccine at Dana-Farber, depending on your time from transplant or cellular therapy. Please continue to check this Dana-Farber COVID-19 vaccine page for updates.

    Can I go back to normal after I get the vaccine (no masks, etc.)?

    No. Even after you are vaccinated, it will still be important to follow best practices for preventing spread of the virus as we learn more about how the vaccines protect us under real-life conditions. This includes wearing a facemask, washing hands often, physical distancing, and complying with the Massachusetts COVID-19 travel order, as well as its testing and quarantine requirements.

    Is the vaccine safe?

    As with any medication, we follow guidance from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, which has a strong vaccine safety system to ensure that all vaccines are as safe as possible. Many clinical trials are currently evaluating the COVID-19 vaccines to best determine their safety and effectiveness.

    If I've had an allergic reaction to chemotherapy in the past, should I worry about reactions to the vaccine?

    Talk with your care team if you've had an allergic reaction to certain chemotherapy drugs, such as those that contain polyethylene glycol (PEG), which is a compound that is part of the current COVID-19 vaccines. Learn more at www.cdc.gov/vaccines/covid-19.

    Who should not get the vaccine?

    According to the Centers for Disease Control, you should not get a COVID-19 vaccine if you have had an immediate allergic reaction to any ingredient in either of the two available COVID-19 vaccines. This includes polyethylene glycol (PEG), a compound found in some chemotherapy treatments. Talk with your care team or healthcare provider if you have questions. Learn more at www.cdc.gov/vaccines/covid-19.

    Can I get one vaccine dose at Dana-Farber, and the other dose at another location?

    No. Both of the currently approved vaccines require two doses and you must receive both doses at the same location. You must receive the same vaccine for doses one and two.

    Is it OK to mix the vaccines (i.e., get a different vaccine for each dose)?

    No. You must receive the same vaccine for doses one and two.

    Is there a cost to receive a COVID-19 vaccine at Dana-Farber?

    No. Per federal rules, there is no cost to you to receive a COVID-19 vaccine. Your health insurance plan may be charged a modest administration fee, but there will be no cost to you.

    What if I experience side effects after getting a COVID-19 vaccine?

    No matter where you are given a COVID-19 vaccine, you will be given clear instructions on what to do if you experience side effects (which are typically mild). For answers to some of the more common questions about getting the COVID-19 vaccine, please visit www.mass.gov/COVIDvaccine and click on "Frequently Asked Questions" or go directly to www.mass.gov/info-details/covid-19-vaccine-frequently-asked-questions.

    My child is younger than age 16. When will he or she be able to get the vaccine?

    We do not know, but experts are optimistic that a vaccine for children and young adults may be available by late 2021. Keep in mind that kids and young adults are not typically at high risk for severe illness from COVID-19.

    As a parent of a cancer patient, will I be eligible to get a vaccine from Dana-Farber?

    No, because Dana-Farber must follow the rules set out by the state of Massachusetts for phases of the vaccine rollout. Learn more about the vaccine phases and where to get a vaccine outside of Dana-Farber at www.mass.gov/COVIDvaccine.

    Additional Information on Vaccines

  • Cancer and the COVID-19 Vaccine


    Dana-Farber Cancer Institute hosted an open forum on January 27, 2021 for cancer patients and survivors on the COVID-19 vaccine. The forum included a Q&A with Dana-Farber clinicians who addressed questions about vaccine safety, availability, and more.

    Download a transcript of this webinar in Spanish

  • Vaccines for Cancer Patients and Survivors: What We Know

    How do vaccines work? Are they safe for cancer patients? In particular, will the COVID-19 vaccine be safe for cancer patients and for those out of treatment? How is Dana-Farber working with federal and state officials on distribution and other plans? Learn what we currently know.

  • What Should I Do After I Get the COVID-19 Vaccine?

    People who receive a COVID-19 vaccine need to continue taking safety precautions to protect others from COVID-19. It is currently unclear whether getting the COVID-19 vaccine will prevent you from spreading the virus to others.
  • COVID-19 Vaccine and Cancer: Reaching Communities of Color
    Thomas Farrington, a prostate cancer survivor and founder of the Prostate Health Education Network, as well as a trustee for Dana-Farber Cancer Institute in Boston, shares why he feels it's especially important for communities of color to trust, and have access to the COVID-19 vaccine.

  • I Got the COVID-19 Vaccine, and Here's Why You Should Too

    Dana-Farber oncology nurse Melissa Houston, RN, BSN, writes about her decision to get vaccinated and addresses concerns that some people have about the vaccine's safety and effectiveness.
  • Dana-Farber Administers COVID-19 Vaccinations to Staff
    Dana-Farber Cancer Institute has begun vaccinating clinical and non-clinical patient-facing staff for COVID-19. The Institute has a goal of 1,000 vaccines each week.
    Video published 12/17/2020