Last updated May 18, 2021
Please Get Your COVID-19 Vaccination
Dana-Farber has now given all eligible patients the opportunity to schedule a COVID-19 vaccination appointment. If you have not scheduled your COVID-19 vaccination, please talk with your Dana-Farber care team.
- We strongly encourage all patients to get a COVID-19 vaccine to protect themselves and their loved ones.
- You should get a COVID-19 vaccination even if you were previously infected with the virus. The vaccine may help trigger a bigger immune response, which better prepares the body to fight off the coronavirus. If you recently had a COVID-19
infection, you are eligible to get the vaccine as soon as you are symptom-free and have completed your required isolation period.
- To find other COVID-19 vaccination locations, visit vaxfinder.mass.gov. If you live outside of Massachusetts, visit vaccinefinder.org.
You may also be able to schedule your own COVID-19 vaccine appointment on Patient Gateway. If you do not have a Patient Gateway account,
visit Patient Gateway and click Enroll Now. For more instructions, use the Enrolling in Patient Gateway guide.
COVID-19 Vaccine FAQ for Dana-Farber Patients
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 is controlled by the state of Massachusetts, so you will receive whichever vaccine is available on the day
of your appointment.
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
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,
and physical distancing.
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.
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?
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
How can I know whether the vaccine worked for me? Should I have an antibody test?
At this time there isn’t a way to know with certainty whether the vaccine worked, but it is likely that it offers at least some benefit, even in people with weakened immune systems.
There are antibody tests. However, even when they do detect antibodies, it’s not known how to interpret the results. We don’t yet know what level of antibody is needed for protection against the coronavirus or whether those antibodies will protect against
the variants. Further, the presence of antibodies may give people a false sense of security that they can stop wearing masks and taking precautions, which could make them more susceptible to infection.
At the same time, there are other cells of the immune system that can be stimulated by the vaccine to help protect you against the virus that aren’t detected by the antibody tests. This type of immunity is called cellular immunity. So, even if the antibody
level is low, or even undetectable, you still could have developed an immune response from the vaccine.
At this point, the Centers for Disease Control and many other medical experts do not recommend antibody testing for assessing immunity after vaccination. As we gain more understanding of the test results, their meaning, and how to respond
to those results, we may find that testing becomes useful. Until then, we recommend getting vaccinated and continuing to exercise precautions to reduce the risk of exposure.
Are you vaccinating patients seen in the Jimmy Fund Clinic?
Dana-Farber is only able to invite patients age 18 and older for vaccinations, but younger patients who are seen in the pediatric Jimmy Fund Clinic will be contacted by Boston Children's Hospital when they are eligible for a COVID vaccine. If you have
questions, please check the Boston Children's Hospital COVID-19 vaccine information page,
or call the Boston Children's COVID-19 hotline at 617-355-4200 (toll-free 855-281-5730).
My child is not yet eligible for a COVID-19 vaccine. When will he or she be able to get the vaccine?
We do not know, but experts are optimistic that a vaccine for children may be available by early 2022. Please check the
Boston Children's Hospital COVID-19 vaccine information page for answers
to frequently asked questions, such as when children might be able to receive a vaccine.
Additional Information on Vaccines