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Priority COVID-19 vaccination appointments for cancer patients

Victoria has reserved COVID-19 vaccine appointments for people aged 16 and over deemed to be vulnerable and at high risk from COVID-19, including people with or recovering from cancer, as well as children aged 12-15 years who are immuno-compromised.

These priority appointment are effective from Wednesday 3 August 2021.

COVID-19 vaccination is highly recommended for people with cancer due to the higher risk of morbidity and mortality associated with COVID-19 infection.

The Victorian COVID-19 Cancer Taskforce and Cancer Council Victoria have been working with the Victorian Government to address the high vulnerability of patients with cancer during the pandemic, and the elevated priority for vaccination on this group.

This prioritisation process helps people get vaccinated sooner and ensures appointments are available at vaccination centres that are convenient.

People with the following conditions can access reserved appointments:

  • Haematological diseases or cancers
  • Solid organ transplant recipients who are on immune suppressive therapy
  • Bone marrow transplant recipients or chimeric antigen receptor T-cell (CAR-T) therapy recipients or those with graft host disease
  • Non-haematological cancer
  • Adult survivors of childhood cancers
  • Chronic inflammatory conditions requiting medical treatments
  • Primary or acquired immunodeficiency

This is not an exhaustive list. The overarching principle is that those at higher risk of severe disease should be able to access a reserved appointment.

All people in this group will receive the Pfizer vaccine regardless of age.

Patients with cancer are at no greater risk of side effects from any of the vaccines than anyone else.

As of Monday 9 August, young people aged 12-15 who are at higher risk of severe illness if they contract COVID-19 are also eligible to receive a COVID-19 vaccine, this includes children who are immuno-compromised. 

Young people will be encouraged to speak to their general practitioner about any questions they (or their parents/guardians) have about vaccination. They will be encouraged to get their COVID-19 vaccine at a general practice or community health service, although vaccines will also be available through vaccination centres.

More information

Reserved appointments are only available by calling the Victorian Coronavirus hotline on 1800 675 398. Patients should tell the hotline operator they are deemed to be vulnerable and at high risk from COVID-19.

Patients are asked to consult with their treating doctor re optimal timing for vaccination if they are undergoing current treatment. Treating doctors are also asked to provide a letter to support the patient's suitability for vaccination.

Fact sheet from Department of Health provides information for patients to help them access these priority appointments.

More details can be found via the Department of Health website eligibility checker.

Patients can also contact Cancer Council Victoria via 131120 and additional information is available on the Cancer Council Victoria website.

The Victorian COVID-19 Cancer Network's Got Cancer Get Vaccinated resources, highlighting the urgency and evidence for this prioritisation can be found here.

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