Houston, TX

MD Anderson Cancer Center's doctor provides explanation regarding immunocompromised but fully vaccinated individuals

Jason Martinez

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HOUSTON, TX — About half of the adult population in Texas and 60% of all Americans are currently partially vaccinated against COVID-19. According to an announcement from The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention or CDC, those who have received the COVID-19 vaccine now no longer need to wear masks in various situations.

But the question is whether these guidelines apply to those with compromised immunity or those who are still undergoing treatment for certain chronic diseases, such as cancer?

Chief Infection Control Officer Roy Chemaly, M.D. at MD Anderson Cancer Center explains:

1. A person who has been vaccinated but has an immune disorder can be said to have not been fully protected from COVID-19. Given that people who are immunocompromised do not show a good response to vaccines and a lot of susceptible people do not show a response to vaccines, then the potential for getting the coronavirus is still there—even the cases could be more severe, as proven by the facts on the ground.

2. If someone has been vaccinated but lives with a person whose immunity is compromised, it is better to continue to follow health protocols such as wearing a mask and washing hands to prevent transmission of the coronavirus, especially when doing outdoor activities. The risk of transmission is relatively low, especially if someone does not invite people who have not been vaccinated to come to their house.

3. Prevention is better than cure. People need to protect themselves from infection with infectious diseases, especially if the transmission rate is high. Therefore, following health protocols, especially for those who are immunocompromised, is very important. Various preventive practices that can be carried out include washing hands, applying hand sanitizer, wearing masks, and keeping a distance, especially from crowds of people.

For those who have been fully vaccinated, the potential for contracting the COVID-19-and transmitting it to others-is still there. Therefore, avoid gatherings, especially if the participants who will come have not been vaccinated or have not been able to ascertain their vaccination status. If you cannot avoid meeting for urgent or important reasons, implementing health protocols to prevent transmission is highly recommended.

4. Winter has the potential to make the immune system decline. Usually during this season, people who have weak immune systems are prone to various influenza symptoms, such as runny nose, cough, and fever. Therefore, people who are immunocompromised and even healthy people, are still recommended to apply health protocols, especially if they are active outside their houses.

How about summer? According to the CDC's predictions, the risk of transmitting the coronavirus during the summer is relatively low. However, given that the coronavirus continues to mutate, protecting against the transmission of the virus is still important.

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