In a study of individuals who have had hematologic malignancies, researchers investigated beliefs and behaviors associated with vaccination against COVID-19. The researchers reported their findings in a recent issue of JCO Oncology Practice.

“Many patients with blood cancer and survivors are particularly vulnerable to COVID-19 disease and complications, as blood cancers can affect the bone marrow, blood cells, and lymphatic system, and most patients tend to be diagnosed in the sixth through ninth decades of life,” the researchers explained in their report.

The study included 2 surveys: the first occurred in December 2020 with the second occurring in June 2021. Surveys were sent to patients with, and survivors of, hematologic malignancies who had records in The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society constituent database.


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The surveys involved questions about COVID-19 vaccination, in addition to details pertaining to demographics, cancer diagnosis, and treatment status. Various questions addressed a participant’s likelihood to get vaccinated against COVID-19 and trust of various information sources regarding the choice to get vaccinated. Responses were based on a 5-point Likert scale, with options ranging across a scale from “very unlikely” to “very likely.”

There were 2272 respondents who participated in both surveys. Respondents had a mean age of 65.75 years and more than half (58.7%) possessed a bachelor’s degree or higher.

In the first survey, conducted in December 2020, 72.8% of respondents expressed that they were likely or very likely to undergo COVID-19 vaccination. In the June 2021 survey, 90.7% of respondents stated that they had gotten vaccinated.

Based on multiple regression analysis, several factors appeared associated with getting vaccinated against COVID-19, such as age, being married, or possessing a bachelor’s degree or higher. The choice to get vaccinated against COVID-19 also appeared associated with participants having trust in their oncologist, pharmaceutical companies, and/or federal agencies (P <.01 for each).

Among all evaluated participants, trust appeared highest toward oncologists (89.7%) and primary care physicians (84.6%) as sources of information about COVID-19 vaccination. Regarding other sources of information about COVID-19 vaccines, expressing trust in local faith leaders was linked to not getting vaccinated (P <.01). In general, hesitancy toward COVID-19 vaccination, based on December 2020 responses, appeared linked to a general lack of trust toward vaccines (P <.01).

Overall, 79.4% of those who reported in December 2020 that they were unlikely to get vaccinated ultimately did get vaccinated, as did 49.4% of participants who reported being very unlikely to get vaccinated.

“In conclusion, despite vaccine hesitancy in December 2020, most patients with and survivors of hematological malignancies overcame their concerns regarding COVID-19 vaccination and had received two doses by June 2021,” the researchers wrote in their report.

Disclosures: Some authors have declared affiliations with or received grant support from the pharmaceutical industry. Please refer to the original study for a full list of disclosures.

Reference

Akesson J, Weiss ES, Sae-Hau M, et al. COVID-19 vaccine–related beliefs and behaviors among patients with and survivors of hematologic malignancies. JCO Oncol Pract. Published online November 9, 2022. doi:10.1200/OP.22.00338