News from Illinois CancerCare

COVID-19 Vaccine

We highly recommend you take your first available opportunity to get the vaccine. This may be from your local health department, primary care provider or hospital system.

If you have cancer or are on chemotherapy, our physicians recommend that you get the COVID-19 vaccine except under the following circumstances:

  • If you have had a bone marrow transplant in the last 4 months
  • If you have had a positive COVID-19 infection and received convalescent plasma or COVID-19 directed antibody in the last 90 days
  • If you have received any other vaccine in the last 14 days
  • Please discuss with your physician if you have an autoimmune disorder
  • Please discuss with your OB if you are pregnant
  • Please discuss with your physician if you have had a severe reaction to injectable medications or vaccines in the past

State of Illinois COVID-19 Vaccine Information:
Check out the State of Illinois website for more information on setting up a vaccine appointment at a site near you.
Simply type in your zip code or city in the box above the map, and scroll down to see site results.

For general COVID-19 Vaccination information, please refer to the CDC and IDPH websites.


Do I need the COVID-19 Vaccine Booster?

If you are an Illinois CancerCare patient and meet the below criteria, we recommend you talk with your provider about getting the vaccine booster:

  • An active oncology or hematology patient on treatment within the last year (2020-2021)
  • A transplant patient within last two years (2019-2021)
  • CD20 monoclonal patient¬†within last two years (2019-2021)
  • Patients with¬†Hypogammaglobulinemia
  • Patients on active steroid or other immunosupportive medications
  • Patients with low absolute neutrophil count (ANC) < 1500 or absolute lymphocyte count (ALC) < 1000
  • Patients with advanced or untreated HIV

Where can I get the booster shot?

Individuals with compromised immune systems can check with their healthcare provider about getting a third COVID-19 dose. At this time, vaccine providers, such as local health departments, clinics, and pharmacies, are able to provide third doses.

You can find a vaccine provider at www.vaccines.gov or call 1-800-232-0244 (TTY 888-720-7489).

CLICK HERE FOR BOOSTER SHOT FAQs.

Process/Procedures

If you are immunosuppressed, you are approved for either Moderna or Pfizer

  1. An additional dose, Booster, of mRNA COVID-19 vaccine is recommended after the initial 2 doses.
  2. The additional booster should be the same mRNA originally received, Moderna or Pfizer.
  3. The additional booster should be given 4 weeks or 28 days following the 2nd dose of Moderna or Pfizer.
  4. At this time, J&J is not approved for additional doses or a booster.

Who is eligible for an additional dose/booster:

  • Active treatment patient within last 1 year time frame (solid and heme malignancies)
  • Transplant patient within last 2 year time-frame
  • CD20 monoclonal patient within last 2 year time-frame
  • Patient with Hypogammaglobulinemia
  • Patients on active steroid or other immunosupportive medications
  • Patients with low ANC < 1500 or ALC < 1000
  • Patients with advanced or untreated HIV

Additional CDC recommendations for Pfizer only (updated 9-24-21)

CDC recommends that the following groups should receive a booster shot of Pfizer-BioNTech’s COVID-19 Vaccine at least 6 months after completing their Pfizer-BioNTech primary series (i.e., the first 2 doses of a COVID-19 Vaccine):

CDC also recommends that the following groups may receive a booster shot of Pfizer-BioNTech’s COVID-19 Vaccine at least 6 months after completing their Pfizer-BioNTech primary series, based on their individual benefits and risks:

  • Patients aged 18-49 years with underlying medical conditions (refer to People with Certain Medical Conditions | CDC)
  • ¬†Patients aged 18-64 years at increased risk for COVID-19 exposure and transmission because of occupational or institutional setting – see list below

Occupations at increased risk for COVID-19 exposure and transmission include front line essential workers and health care workers as previously detailed by the CDC

  • First responders (healthcare workers, firefighters, police, congregate care staff)
  • Education staff (teachers, support staff, daycare workers)
  • Food and agriculture workers
  • Manufacturing workers
  • Corrections workers
  • U.S. Postal service workers
  • Public transit workers
  • Grocery store workers

*List could be updated in the future

More information will be available as the federal government rolls out its plan.