In January, the American Diabetes Association and 18 other organizations asked the federal government to put people with Type 1 diabetes, the form that often begins in childhood, in line next for vaccination. The groups said those patients can have a threefold greater risk of severe COVID-19 than those without Type 1 diabetes.
This week, more than 130 hospitals, research foundations, fundraising organizations and patient advocacy groups are pleading with the Biden administration to put cancer patients first in the next stage of the rollout. The letter, which was initiated by the American Association for Cancer Research, says research in the past year shows that COVID-19 patients with cancer have twice the death rate than those without cancer.
Among the signatories are the University of Cincinnati Cancer Center.
Syed Ahmad, MD, co-director of the UC Cancer Center, says the global data since the new coronavirus emerged in humans in late 2019 reveals that seven to 10 of every 100 cancer patients who develop COVID-19 die. Local results reflect the world trend, he says.
“When you balance the stress of having cancer and the fear of getting the coronavirus infection, it’s double whammy for the cancer patient,” Ahmad says. “The problem is that there is not enough vaccine to distribute to everybody. And if you look at risk, if you look at all those comorbidities, the one that is at highest risk of death is cancer.”
Featured photo of COVID-19 vaccine trial dose by Colleen Kelley.