The Lung Cancer Research Foundation joined with GO2 Foundation for Lung Cancer, LUNGevity Foundation, the Lung Cancer Foundation of America, and LungCAN to issue a joint statement educating the public, particularly vulnerable populations, about the facts surrounding the coronavirus epidemic.

Below is the final update to the statement. You can find previous statements here.

Lung Cancer and COVID-19 Guide

LCRF also has developed a free download addressing common questions about COVID-19 and lung cancer.

Find out more. (Updated July 10, 2020)

January 25, 2021 | Download the statement as a PDF

Final Update to the Joint Statement on COVID-19 from Lung Cancer Advocacy Groups

As of January 22, we stand at 24.8 million COVID-19 cases in the US, with 412,936 deaths. The CDC reports that 15.1 million Americans have received at least one dose of vaccine, with 2.4 million people being fully vaccinated.

President Biden and his administration have made addressing the COVID-19 pandemic a top priority and have released their National Strategy for the COVID-19 Response and Pandemic Preparedness. Other steps in the first few days of his presidency include asking Americans to wear masks for the first 100 days of his administration, signing an executive order for a mask mandate on federal property and reenlisting the US in the World Health Organization and joining global efforts to combat the pandemic.

In this week’s update, we will cover several topics including: the advisory panel making decisions on which groups should be prioritized for vaccination next, new NCCN guidelines regarding vaccination of patients with solid tumors and new vaccines on the horizon.

Prioritize patients with cancer

LungCAN and lung cancer advocates contacted the Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP) to remind the committee that patients with cancer need to be prioritized for vaccination against COVID-19. Most states do not include patients with cancer in Tier 1b. You can read the letter to the ACIP from LungCAN here.

Are there any special considerations for patients with lung cancer receiving the COVID-19 vaccine?

The National Comprehensive Cancer Network® recently released guidelines for vaccination of patients with solid tumors.

  • Patients with cancer should be prioritized for vaccination (CDC priority group 1b/c) and should be immunized when vaccination is available to them.
  • Immunization is recommended for all patients receiving active therapy. Patients and their treating physicians should be aware that there are limited safety and efficacy data in these patients.
  • Patients who are receiving immunotherapy, targeted therapy, chemotherapy, or radiation therapy should receive the vaccine as soon as it is available. In patients who are undergoing surgery, date of vaccination should be separate from the day of surgery by at least a few days.

New Vaccines on the Horizon

Currently, two vaccines (Pfizer and Moderna) are approved for use in the US. Both these vaccines are mRNA-based. But other vaccines are on the horizon and are already being rolled out in different countries around the world. This tracker from The New York Times offers a comprehensive overview of all vaccines currently in development. This article also summarizes the top three vaccines expected to move forward in the US in the near future. Both the AstraZeneca (AZ) and Johnson & Johnson (J&J) vaccines are built on an adenovirus backbone – this is using a typically harmless virus as a “Trojan horse” to deliver the genetic sequence for the SARS-CoV-2 spike protein to stimulate an immune response. The AZ vaccine will still require two doses while J&J’s will be a single dose vaccine. Novavax’s platform uses a virus like particle (VLP) coated in genetically engineered coronavirus proteins to stimulate an immune response.

This graphic summarizes some key features of current vaccines that are being used globally:

A Farewell to Updates

We started writing these updates almost a year ago, when data first suggested that lung cancer patients who were infected with COVID-19 had worse outcomes. At that time, little scientific information was readily available about the virus, public health measures, and potential treatments. We decided to fill that gap.

Now, many scientists and public health officials are providing accurate and understandable COVID-19 information to the lung cancer community. It’s time for us to pivot (a popular word in the past year) to other lung cancer priorities.

This will be our last regular update. Going forward, we will provide future updates as warranted or when new advances/challenges dictate. We hope we’ve provided value. Thanks for reading!

Resources and websites:

  1. IASLC’s Guide to COVID-19 and Lung Cancer
  2. The National Cancer Institute has a special website for COVID-19 and emergency preparedness: COVID-19: What People with Cancer Should Know
  3. We are following updates provided by the World Health Organization (WHO) and the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).
  4. Johns Hopkins COVID-19 Resource Center
  5. Interactive map of US COVID-19 cases by state
  6. The One-Two Punch: Cancer And COVID-19 (an important perspective for cancer patients)
  7. You can find information specific to your state or city or town on your health department’s website.
    • Directory of state department of health websites
    • Directory of local health department websites
  8. American Medical Association resources for healthcare providers

Lung Cancer Foundations

For further information: GO2 Foundation for Lung Cancer, Amy Moore, PhD | LUNGevity Foundation, Upal Basu Roy, PhD, MPH | Lung Cancer Foundation of America, Kim Norris | Lung Cancer Research Foundation, Cristina Chin, LMSW, MPH | LungCAN, Kimberly Lester