What Our Cancer Patients Should Know About COVID-19 Vaccines

January 14, 2021

Texas Oncology is not yet able to provide COVID-19 vaccines to patients, but we strongly encourage our patients to get the vaccine where it is available. The Texas Department of State Health Services is directing the distribution of  the state’s allocation COVID-19 vaccines to hub providers. Patients may check with their primary care physician, local pharmacy, or a local vaccination hub provider to see if vaccines are available, and visit the Texas COVID-19 vaccine provider locations map for more information on vaccine sites near you.

Texas Oncology agrees with leading infectious disease experts that all people should be vaccinated against COVID-19, including cancer patients. The COVID-19 vaccine reduces individual risk and slows the spread of the virus. Our COVID-19 task force, which includes physician leaders, nurses, and pharmacists dedicated to the health and safety of our patients, caregivers, and staff during the pandemic, strongly urges cancer patients and their families to get vaccinated as soon as possible.

As the roll out of COVID-19 vaccines continues, we understand you may have questions. Following are important considerations as we work together to curtail the pandemic.

All safety protocols remain in effect at Texas Oncology’s clinics.

The safety of our patients is our highest priority. Texas Oncology will continue requiring face masks, limiting or prohibiting visitors at our locations, patient screening, social distancing, and using telemedicine – even for patients who have already received the vaccine.

It is safe – and encouraged – for cancer patients to receive the COVID-19 vaccine.

Texas Oncology concurs with leading infectious disease experts in recommending that all people be vaccinated against COVID-19, including patients with cancer. We strongly encourage our patients to get the vaccine.

Texas Oncology is not yet able to provide the COVID-19 vaccine to patients.

We are registered with Texas Department of State Health Services (TDSHS) to provide the vaccine, and we have received a limited allocation of vaccine doses at several locations. Per state guidelines, we prioritized our staff for this initial allocation. We plan to provide the vaccine to patients when we receive sufficient doses from TDSHS. We encourage patients to get the vaccine where it is available. Click here for Texas COVID-19 vaccine provider locations.

Patients in active treatment should consult their physicians on the best time to get the vaccine.

Texas Oncology recommends patients get the COVID-19 vaccine as soon as it becomes available to them, including at local pharmacies, primary care clinics, and vaccine hub providers. Cancer patients on active therapy should consult their Texas Oncology physician or a member of their care team before they get the vaccine.

The Texas Department of State Health Services is the governing body for COVID-19 vaccines.

This means the Texas Department of State Health Services makes all decisions about when, where, and how many doses of vaccines are distributed throughout the state. Texas Oncology does not have the authority to make decisions regarding vaccine availability.

The COVID-19 vaccine is most effective after two shots.

Two COVID-19 vaccine shots are needed to provide the best protection against the virus. Depending on the specific vaccine, the second shot is given several weeks after the first shot. Everyone who gets a COVID-19 vaccine is required to be monitored on-site for a minimum of 15-20 minutes after each shot. If you have a history of allergic reactions after getting shots, contact your primary care physician before you travel to the vaccine site to discuss whether it is safe for you to get the vaccine.

Texas Oncology needs a record of your COVID-19 vaccination.

A vaccination card or printed record of your vaccine should be provided to you when you receive the vaccine. It should include what COVID-19 vaccine you received, the date you received it, and where you received it, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. No matter where you receive the vaccine, Texas Oncology would like to save a copy of your vaccination record to your health record, so it’s important to bring it to your next appointment.

If Texas Oncology receives sufficient allocations of doses, we will communicate directly to patients.

Vaccine availability can rapidly change. Patients will be contacted directly by your local clinic. We will also post general information and updates on our website and social media channels.

Walk-ins for vaccines will not be allowed.

If Texas Oncology is able to provide the COVID-19 vaccine to patients, all appointments to get the vaccine will be scheduled in advance. Texas Oncology has a prioritization plan in place, which is based on guidelines from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and Texas Department of State Health Services. Patients will be contacted directly based on availability and prioritization for vaccine distribution.

Texas Oncology locations may receive varying doses at different times, and not all of our locations may receive COVID-19 vaccines.

It is important to understand that the availability of the COVID-19 vaccine varies by location. The Texas Department of State Health Services makes all decisions about vaccine availability and distribution. This changes frequently.

Texas Oncology is committed to providing updates as we receive them. Below are additional resources about the COVID-19 vaccines and cancer.