The Health Ministry on Sunday said that most patients undergoing cancer treatment should not be given a third COVID vaccine booster shot.
The ministry said close to 90% of oncology patients who were vaccinated and receiving chemotherapy “maintained a high level of antibodies following the vaccine,” obviating the need for a booster, The Times of Israel reported.
It was also noted that the vaccine could cause side effects, including “lymph node enlargement or liver dysfunction,” and therefore “the recommendation at this time” is not to administer a third COVID dose to cancer patients. Health providers were notified accordingly.
The ministry did make exceptions, however. Those with chronic lymphocytic leukemia; multiple myeloma; and non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma, may receive a third shot, in consultation with a physician.
Among those who are newly eligible to receive a third dose of the COVID vaccine are heart, lung, kidney and liver transplant recipients; those with multiple sclerosis; and patients with rheumatological or autoimmune diseases, according to Dr. Emilia Anis, head of the ministry’s epidemiological unit.
The Health Ministry also said that it recommends that those eligible to receive a third dose conduct an antibody test before receiving the shot and another 14 days later “to assess the benefits.”