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Herd Immunity Helps Cancer Patients

Herd Immunity Helps Cancer Patients

Vaccinations help drastically reduce or eliminate an outbreak of infectious diseases, such as measles or COVID-19, but they can be especially important if you or a loved one is in treatment for cancer and has a compromised immune system. Only by vaccinating the majority of people can we achieve community immunity (often called herd immunity) that will protect cancer patients.

“Community immunity protects everyone. But it’s especially important because some people can’t get vaccinated for certain diseases — such as people with some serious allergies and those with weakened or failing immune systems (like people who have cancer, HIV/AIDS, type 1 diabetes, or other health conditions),” states the US Department of Health & Human Services. Having a fully vaccinated population of both adults and children will help keep our cancer patient safe.

Because of the COVID-19 pandemic, many children have not received the childhood illness vaccinations they usually would have because parents have delayed seeing their children’s pediatricians to minimize exposure risk. “This coming school year, families are required to provide a copy of medically verified immunization records — or a valid exemption — for their children to attend school,” states The Seattle Times. “If they don’t have the records by the first day of school, they can’t attend in person.”

Some children who suffer from cancer and other conditions preventing vaccination may still attend school. This is why the school system requires vaccinations for those who are able, and we ask – for the benefit of our cancer-affected patients - that families of healthy children comply. In Washington, though there was a lull in 2020, vaccination levels among children are rising again towards pre-2020 levels.

As for the COVID vaccine, according to The Seattle Times, as of June 5, 42% of 16- and 17-year-olds and 30% of 12- to 15-year-olds have been at least partially vaccinated in Washington. This is higher than the national average. A COVID-19 vaccine is not required by schools because the vaccine has only been approved on an emergency basis.

Learn more important facts about vaccinations here: https://www.cdc.gov/vaccines/vac-gen/vaxwithme.html