The National Comprehensive Cancer Network (NCCN)—a nonprofit alliance of leading cancer centers across the United States—joins the growing call for mandatory COVID-19 vaccination for all eligible healthcare workers. The organization issued an official statement today calling on all healthcare systems to ensure their workforces are immunized, which includes the following perspective:
“Patients with cancer are more susceptible to COVID-19 complications and may not mount effective immune responses to vaccination, so it is incumbent on healthcare workers to be immunized against COVID-19. In so doing, we help to create a cocoon effect in which vulnerable individuals are protected from COVID-19 by vaccinating those who care for these patients.”
“Cancer care providers have a responsibility to their patients and colleagues to do everything they can to reduce the spread of COVID-19; that includes getting vaccinated,” said Robert W. Carlson, MD, Chief Executive Officer, NCCN. “We know cancer patients already face a higher risk from COVID-19 and must be protected during their many interactions with healthcare workers. According to the science, vaccines are our best option to safely protect ourselves and the people around us from this potentially deadly disease.”
NCCN’s endorsement of mandatory vaccination for healthcare workers stems from the work of the NCCN COVID-19 Vaccination Advisory Committee, a group of leading physicians with expertise in infectious diseases, vaccine development and delivery, cancer management, and medical ethics. The committee has previously shared evidence-based expert consensus recommendations on vaccinating people with cancer against COVID-19. They regularly update this guidance—which is intended for clinicians and also available in a patient-friendly format.
“We’re deeply committed to doing everything to protect our patients from COVID-19,” said Brahm Segal, MD, Roswell Park Comprehensive Cancer Center, Co-Leader of the NCCN COVID-19 Vaccination Advisory Committee. “Our patients come to our centers for high quality and cutting-edge cancer care. We must insist they are protected as much as possible from COVID-19 during medical visits, and this requires that our workforce be immunized.”