COVID-19 therapies are available for our adult patients at Dana-Farber's Longwood Campus in limited quantities. These therapies can help your immune system fight COVID-19.
You may be eligible for these treatments if you are categorized as being at high risk for complications from COVID-19 infection. If you have questions, please talk with your Dana-Farber care team.
- Paxlovid is an antiviral medication developed by Pfizer designed to treat mild-to-moderate COVID-19 disease in people who are at high risk for severe COVID-19. If you test positive for COVID-19, talk with your Dana-Farber care team about whether Paxlovid might be right for you.
- Dana-Farber may offer remdesivir to COVID-19-positive patients. This is an FDA-approved antiviral therapy administered by IV infusion.
To learn more about COVID-19 therapies, talk with your doctor or check the CDC's overview of COVID-19 treatments and medications.
If you are in active cancer treatment, you are considered immunocompromised and you may need additional COVID-19 vaccine shots or boosters to best protect against infection. An updated version of the COVID-19 vaccine was approved in Sept. 2023 and the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) recommends everyone 6 months and older get the updated vaccine (either Pfizer or Moderna) to protect against COVID-19 illness this fall and winter. According to the CDC, you should get the updated vaccine if you have not received a COVID-19 vaccination in the past 2 months.
Learn more about staying up to date with COVID-19 vaccines from the CDC.
If you need a COVID-19 vaccination series or additional vaccine dose, you should make an appointment at any community location near you. You do not need a doctor's note to get a COVID-19 vaccine. Find a location near you at www.vaccines.gov.
We recommend these community locations because Dana-Farber is unable to offer a large number of COVID-19 vaccine appointments to our patients.
Frequently Asked Questions
What's the difference between a Booster Dose and Additional Dose?
A booster dose is different from an additional dose:
- A booster dose is another dose given to fully vaccinated persons to extend their immune response. The CDC advises that eligible persons can choose whichever vaccine they prefer for a booster dose. Some people may want the vaccine type that they originally received, while others may prefer to get a different booster.
- An additional dose is considered a required part of the vaccination series that helps certain immunocompromised people achieve full vaccination. The CDC recommends that immunocompromised people (including most cancer patients) get an additional dose of the Pfizer-BioNTech or Moderna COVID-19 vaccine after their second dose.
How can I find my COVID-19 vaccination record?
If you were vaccinated at Dana-Farber or a Mass General Brigham site, or if your Dana-Farber doctor added your vaccine status to your medical record, you can use Patient Gateway to view your vaccination record. Visit our Patient Gateway information page, or read How to Find Your Immunization Records (pdf).
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 have passed since your transplant or cellular therapy. In fact, we recommend that all transplant and cellular therapy patients strongly consider getting a new COVID-19 vaccine after 100 days have elapsed from their transplant or cellular therapy.
Are COVID-19 vaccines 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. Learn more from the CDC's vaccine safety page.
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.
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 the COVID-19 vaccine, please review the frequently asked vaccine questions from the Massachusetts Department of Public Health.
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.