COVID-19 Update from Lung Cancer Canada
In an effort to protect our community and our staff from potential exposure to COVID-19, our office in downtown Toronto is closed until further notice. During this time, our staff will be working remotely and continue our efforts to provide the services that lung cancer patients and the community come to expect from us. We will continue to respond to inquiries through phone, and e-mail. Our website and social media platforms will be updated frequently.
We are here to help so please do not hesitate to contact us.
At Lung Cancer Canada , the health, well-being and safety of people affected by lung cancer is our priority. As the situation with COVID-19 is quickly evolving, it is important to ensure that you have accurate information.
The World Health Organization, the Public Health Association of Canada and your provincial Public Health office websites are the official sources of up to date information. Scroll down to the bottom of this page for links to these sites.
If you are a lung cancer patient, you may be at a higher risk for more serious outcomes of COVID-19. Cancer is considered an underlying medical condition. Some cancer treatments, such as surgery, chemotherapy and radiation therapy, can weaken your immune system, making it harder to fight infections. The Canadian Cancer Society has information specific to cancer and the coronavirus.
COVID-19 Vaccine Information for Lung Cancer Patients
Lung Cancer Canada has received several queries from lung cancer patients concerning the COVID-19 vaccine, and because every individual situation is different, please speak with your healthcare provider about your concerns.
Below are answers to the most commonly asked questions.
What vaccines are approved?
Following thorough scientific reviews for safety and efficacy, Health Canada has approved four vaccines for use in Canada: The currently approved vaccines as of today are:
Click here for more information about the vaccines from Health Canada.
- Pfizer-BioNtech COVID-19 Vaccine
- Moderna COVID-19 Vaccine
- AstraZeneca COVID-19 Vaccine
- Janssen COVID-19 Vaccine
Who can receive the vaccine?
According to the Public Health Agency of Canada, everyone who lives in Canada will have access to the vaccines. A phased approach to the delivery will be carried out due to the limited supply of the approved vaccines. Implementation of the vaccine roll out varies in different parts of the country based on the distribution of the vaccine, and priorities for vaccination in the different provinces and territories. This distribution will be expanded with the availability of more doses of the vaccines.
Is the vaccine safe for lung cancer patients?
While initial studies testing the COVID-19 vaccines did not include those with cancer and those receiving treatment with immunosuppressive drugs or with a weak immune system, experts agree that the COVID-19 vaccine is safe and is recommended for people with cancer, cancer survivors, and those currently on cancer treatment, including chemotherapy and immunotherapy. The American Society of Clinical Oncology and Infectious Diseases Society of America recently held a “COVID-19 Vaccine & Patients with Cancer” webinar which discussed the importance of COVID-19 vaccination, and a panel of oncology and infectious disease experts agreed that the vaccines have been shown to be safe and effective for the general population and there was no evidence they would not be safe for most cancer patients.
Although the COVID-19 vaccination is recommended for cancer patients, all COVID-19 precautions remain necessary, even after full vaccination. For patients with a history of allergies and anaphylactic reactions, please speak with your healthcare provider to discuss any risks or concerns.
Currently, the AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine is only available for those who received a first dose of the AstraZeneca vaccine.
When can lung cancer patients receive the vaccine?
The National Committee on Immunization (NACI) has provided recommendations to ensure the efficient and equitable allocation of the COVID-19 vaccines. They have recommended that lung cancer patients be included in priority stage 3 of the vaccine rollout.
The Ontario Vaccine Clinical Advisory Group (VCAG) released updated guidance on COVID-19 vaccines on Mar 26, 2021, recommending that the interval between the first and second dose should be as per manufacturer protocol for those with immunocompromising conditions and immunosuppressive therapies. This includes cancer patients on active treatment with chemotherapy, targeted therapies, and immunotherapy.
List of People at Higher Risk:
In addition, each province has also been developing their individual roll-out plans. Those plans can be found here:
Newfoundland and Labrador
Prince Edward Island
Phase 2 Vaccination Rollout Plan
LCC will continue to monitor the situation and ensure the provision of updated information as it becomes available.
It is important to speak with your oncologist or cancer care team if you are offered the COVID-19 vaccine. Please continue to follow the public health safety protocols and guidelines such a wearing a mask, hand washing etc. to help minimize the risk of spread of COVID-19, even after vaccination.
Helpful Links and References
COVID-19 and Cancer - Information for Patients in British Columbia
Information from Ontario:
COVID-19 Vaccine Information for Cancer Patients:
COVID-19 Vaccine & Patients with Cancer:
Guidance on the prioritization of initial doses of COVID-19 vaccine(s):
COVID-19 mRNA Vaccines for People With Cancer:
Living With COVID-19 and Lung Cancer
Dr. James Spicer, PhD, MRCP, Professor of Experimental Cancer Medicine, King's College
Dre. Nicole Bouchard, MD, FRCPC, Pulmonologist, CHUM
Dr. Paul Wheatley-Price, MB, MBChB, FRCP, MD, Medical Oncologist, Ottawa Hospital
How COVID-19 has changed lung cancer treatment
Lessons learned from the pandemic
What changes can be made permanently
Best practices going forward
COVID-19 and Lung Cancer: How to Maximize Your Health, Happiness and Immune Function While at Home.
Lung Cancer Canada & Healing and Cancer present a webinar to learn about:
- How to transform anxiety into empowerment
- Scientifically-proven mind/body techniques to reduce anxiety and boost your immunity
- How self-compassion and social connection creates strength and resilience
Featuring Dr. Rob Rutledge, Radiation Oncologist, Associate Professor in the Faculty of Medicine at Dalhousie University and co-founder of the Healing and Cancer Foundation. To learn more visit https://healingandcancer.org/
A Panel Discussion: COVID-19 and Lung Cancer. What Patients Need to Know.
Lung Cancer Canada presents a panel discussion answering lung cancer patient's questions and concerns about COVID-19.
Dr. Rosalyn Juergens Medical Oncologist, Chair of the Lung Cancer Canada Medical Advisory Committee
Dr. Normand Blais Medical Oncologist, Member of the Lung Cancer Canada Medical Advisory Committee
Andrea Redway Lung Cancer Survivor & Patient Advocate
Lung Cancer Voices - Special Edition: COVID-19 and Lung Cancer - Your Questions Answered
In this special episode, Christina Sit, Programs Director at Lung Cancer Canada asks Dr. Paul Wheatley-Price the most common questions about COVID-19 that we have heard from lung cancer patients.
Tips for your appointments:
Remember: the situation is fluid and the cancer care teams are working to try to find a way to ensure that patient care is maintained. There are still many unknowns.
It is normal to feel anxious about your appointments as the situation is quickly evolving. Remember that your medical team is there to help you, so please talk to them should you have any questions about your care. They are the best source of information if you have questions about your risk, based on where you live in Canada and your medical history. They will also keep you updated about any possible changes to your cancer treatments during the COVID-19 outbreak.
- Is my appointment still as scheduled?
- If it is rescheduled, ask for a new date or ask if it is possible to have a telephone or video appointment.
- If you are nervous about travelling to, or going into the cancer centre, ask if there is an option to have a phone or video appointment.
- If your treatment is delayed and you feel that you have been placed in a lower "category" or priority, you may ask to have have the decision reviewed.
In addition, follow these pre-cautionary steps:
- Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds.
- If soap and water are not available, use hand sanitizer with at least 60% alcohol content.
- Avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth, especially with unwashed hands.
- Avoid close contact with people who are sick.
- Cough and sneeze into your elbow, not your hands.
- Use cleaning products to disinfect objects and surfaces you commonly touch, such as doorknobs, countertops, phones and toys.
- Stay home if you are feeling sick to avoid spreading germs to others.
On the lighter side, try using this site: https://washyourlyrics.com/ to create your own handwashing sign with lyrics to your favorite song!
COVID-19 Information Links: