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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 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 If you live outside of Massachusetts, visit

    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 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, 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

    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

    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 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

  • Cancer and the COVID-19 Vaccine

    Dana-Farber 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, 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

  • Visit these Centers for Disease Control (CDC) Websites ...
    ...for more information on COVID-19 vaccine safety and some common misconceptions.