Debra Patt, MD, PhD, MBA, executive vice president of Texas Oncology, addresses considerations for getting a second COVID-19 booster, or a fourth dose, among survivors of breast cancer or patients currently undergoing treatment as well as those who may be immunocompromised.
There are several strategies to consider about getting an additional COVID-19 booster, and patients should discuss these options with their doctors, noted Debra Patt, MD, PhD, MBA, executive vice president of Texas Oncology.
Should patients, both those being treated for breast cancer and survivors, consider a second COVID-19 booster in light of the news on their waning effectiveness?
Yes, so it’s a great call out, and I will say that CDC put this in their guidelines earlier this year: That, in patients who are either immunocompromised or who have cancer and are on treatment, they could consider a fourth dose. For Moderna or Pfizer, that’s 3 shots in a primary series and then a booster, for a total of 4 doses. So that’s one potential strategy. And the US Oncology Network has implemented that strategy and that guidance for our practices.
The other option for some patients that are immunocompromised—because some patients don’t mount a sufficient immune response, especially some of our patients with liquid tumors—what may be a better option for them is to check their antibody titers and if they’re low to get a therapy called Evusheld [tixagevimab and cilgavimab] that’s a long-acting monoclonal antibody that is also protective against serious illness and death in the setting of coronavirus infection.
And so, I think there are a couple of strategies that if patients are immunocompromised or have cancer and are on treatment, we recommend that they discuss with their doctor what strategy they should implement. But certainly getting a fourth shot is an option.