Ask the Experts: Answering COVID-19 Vaccine FAQ

It can be difficult to decipher between fact and fiction when searching for information online regarding the new COVID-19 vaccines. We sat down with Dr. Linna Li, System Division Chief of Radiation Oncology at Main Line Health, to address common questions regarding the vaccine and its effects on those affected by breast and ovarian cancers.

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Should those currently in treatment for metastatic breast cancer get the Covid-19 vaccine? Are the two vaccines that currently available safe for us because we are immune-compromised?
Yes, and yes, they are both safe.

Is there a waiting period you need to wait after having surgery before getting the vaccine. Not just breast surgery but any surgery?
No, there is no waiting period according to the FDA and CDC

Is it ok to have the COVID-19 vaccine while undergoing radiation for breast cancer or should you wait until after radiation is over?
Yes, it is ok to get vaccinated while undergoing radiation therapy and chemotherapy.

Does it matter when in the cycle of chemotherapy to receive the COVID-19 vaccine? If so, in a 3-week cycle, when is the best time to receive the vaccine?
There is no known optimal time to get the vaccine during a chemotherapy cycle. We don’t know if it matters. Some physicians are telling patients to get it 1-2 weeks after chemotherapy if the cycle is 3 weeks.

Is there a waiting period between when I can get my vaccine and my lumpectomy?
There is no waiting period for surgery according to the FDA and CDC.

Is there any problem in getting the vaccine if you have had Guillain-Barre syndrome from a flu vaccine?
No, that is not a an issue. Usually people who have had reactions to other vaccines or have significant allergies are monitored for 30 minutes.

I have lots of joint pain as a side effect of Aromasin. I read that NSAIDs are not recommended and may suppress the immune response. How soon can you resume NSAIDs post vaccine # 1 and #2?
You can resume NSAIDs immediately. If you have uncomfortable side effects AFTER the vaccine, such as headaches and body aches, you can take NSAIDs.

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