Cancer patients should be vaccinated, but under the guidance of a doctor, respecting the condition of each. The alert was issued by Helena Esteves, a spokeswoman for the Oncoguia Institute, at a public hearing of the House Cancer Committee.
“The idea that a cancer patient is a very fragile, very weak person who couldn’t be vaccinated may not be true. We have vaccines specifically designed for people with cancer that will benefit this population. And precisely because they are in a fragile moment, it is important for us to consider vaccination strategies, ”Helena Esteves said.
“It is very important for the family to know that they need to be vaccinated because they have a direct connection to this patient. It’s the person who follows the patient in the hospital, the one who follows the person at home, the person who prepares the food, so this family needs to be vaccinated, ”he defended.
Weliton Prado (Pros-MG), deputy chairman of the Cancer Committee, recalled that low immunity in cancer patients increases the risk of death, so vaccinations are important.
“Vaccination is a form of active immunity. We know that one of the serious and invisible effects that most affects cancer patients is a decrease in immunity. This condition affects 34% of breast cancer patients and more than 50% of lymphoma patients. The concern is that in these patients, infections cause a higher risk of death and affect treatments, ”the vice president said.
According to Maria Ignez Braghirol, a spokeswoman for the Brazilian Society of Oncology (SBOC), another recurring problem with vaccinating cancer patients is a lack of information. To minimize this, the SBOC published a booklet on the subject last year, which is available on the Internet.
There are currently 52 special immunological reference centers (CRIEs) in Brazil that provide adequate vaccines for patients with various diseases. But because they are not available in all cities, cancer patients can request them from their city’s health center. A medical request and laboratory tests must be submitted for this purpose.
Adriana Lucena: Vaccine coverage is below the desired average
There are currently 22 vaccines in the national vaccination plan, which will be made available to the population in 38,000 vaccination rooms. These vaccines include the HPV vaccine, which is responsible for preventing cervical cancer. But according to Adriana Lucena, the general coordinator of the program, the coverage of all vaccines is below the desired average, which could lead to a recurrence of controlled or eradicated diseases, as is currently the case with measles.
“This vaccine [do HPV] it is routinely offered to girls aged 9 to 14 and boys aged 11 to 14, but unfortunately, like other vaccines, it also has low vaccine coverage. And it’s important to tell the population that it’s a safe vaccine and that it prevents a serious illness, cancer, ”he said.