Swine flu vaccination for patients with cancers


In oncology, vaccination is accepted as an important preventive measure. As a tertiary prevention protocol, several vaccines are recommended for the oncology patients. The newest vaccine in medicine is swine flu vaccine which is developed for prevention of novel H1N1 influenza virus infection. In this paper, the author will briefly discuss on swine flu vaccination for oncology patients.

Keywords: Cancer, prevention, swine flu, vaccination

How to cite this article:
Wiwanitkit V. Swine flu vaccination for patients with cancers. Ann Trop Med Public Health 2011;4:136-7


How to cite this URL:
Wiwanitkit V. Swine flu vaccination for patients with cancers. Ann Trop Med Public Health [serial online] 2011 [cited 2017 Nov 14];4:136-7. Available from: https://www.atmph.org/text.asp?2011/4/2/136/85772


Introduction to Vaccination for Oncology Patients

Several infectious diseases are still prevalent in present day. These diseases can affect the oncology patients in the same as the other patients. Based on the concept “prevention is better than treatment”, prevention of infectious diseases via vaccination is useful. At present, there are many available vaccines and these vaccines can be applied for the oncology patients. [1]

Generally, the aim of vaccination for oncology patients is similar to healthy subjects, prevention of diseases. Several vaccines are specially recommended for the oncology patients. Of several vaccines, the newest vaccine, swine flu vaccine is developed for prevention of novel H1N1 influenza virus infection. The topics on immunological response and adverse effect of new swine flu vaccine are interesting. However, there are limited data on this aspect. More limited information can be seen for the oncology patients. In this paper, the author will briefly discuss on swine flu vaccination for oncology patients.

General Consideration on Swine Flu Vaccination for Oncology Patients

Influenza is a respiratory viral infection. The clinical signs and symptoms of high fever along with respiratory manifestations are common. In addition to classical influenza, variant influenza can be seen. Swine flu is the newest pandemic infection caused by newly identified variant H1N1 influenza virus. [2] After the outbreak in the first site in Mexico, rapid spreading around the world induce global pandemic. [2] However, the new swine flu vaccine is successfully developed and in use at present.

Basically, in the oncology patients, influenza is a serious infection which increases risk of serious clinical outcomes. [3] The classical influenza vaccination is recommended for the oncology patients for tertiary prevention. [4] Longer survival period in oncology patients with classical influenza vaccination can be observed. [5] Focusing on new swine flu vaccination, cancerous patients is classified as a population receiving high priority to get the swine flu vaccine. [6] There are many clinical evidences indicating that the oncology patients have poorer clinical outcome comparing to the others when they get swine flu. [7],[8] Since influenza vaccination can reduce the infection rate and mortality of influenza among oncology patients, it is also expected that swine flu vaccination should provide a similar clinical usefulness. [4]

How to Vaccinate the Oncology Patients with New Swine Flu Vaccine?

Yee et al., said that recommended vaccinations for oncology patients should include that for the Influenza A virus (H1N1). [9] For vaccine administration, an annually intramuscular injection of the swine flu vaccine at the same dosage to health population is recommended. The dosage is 0.5 mL. The contraindication is for any one with allergic history to egg, neomycin, polymycin and classical influenza vaccine. There is still no recommendation on boosting. The vaccine can be given at any stage of the patients but the priority is given to the oncology patients who are on chemotherapy. There is no recommendation for non vaccination in the cases with low lymphocyte count (less than 1 m 200 cells/mL). Since this vaccine is considered a new vaccine, there is a requirement to have a closed observation on the vaccinees after vaccination. In some settings, special closed observation for at least 1 hour is recommended.

Efficacy and Adverse Effect of Swine Flu Vaccination in Oncology Patients

For classical influenza vaccination, it is proved for the effectiveness in using in oncology patients. [10],[11],[12],[13] There are also many reports confirming the safety in either adult or pediatric oncology patients. [14],[15] Undergoing chemotherapy gives no change in efficacy and safety. [16] However, it should be noted that there has never been no report on swine flu vaccination since it is an actually new vaccination. In addition, based on the pandemic mode of development, the complete data on vaccine study cannot be expected and postmarketing surveillance is strongly recommended. [17] Nevertheless, it is believed that the new swine flu vaccine is similarly effective and safe.

Based on the official report of swine flu vaccination program in Thailand, during the period of first swine flu vaccination program, of overall two vaccinations that included thousands of those in oncology patients, there is no report on adverse effect of vaccination in any oncology patients. This might imply for the safety of swine flu vaccination in oncology patients.


Swine flu is the present problematic respiratory infection. Swine flu vaccine has just been produced and used for a few months. The oncology patient is a population that is recommended to get this new vaccine. However, there are limited information on the effectiveness and safety of swine flu vaccination for oncology patients. Further studies on these topics are recommended.



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12. Ortbals DW, Liebhaber H, Presant CA, Van Amburg AL 3rd, Lee JY. Influenza immunization of adult patients with malignant diseases. Ann Intern Med 1977;87:552-7.
13. Goossen GM, Kremer LC, van de Wetering MD. Influenza vaccination in children being treated with chemotherapy for cancer. Cochrane Database Syst Rev 2009:CD006484.
14. Hsieh YC, Lu MY, Kao CL, Chiang BL, Lin DT, Lin KS, et al. Response to influenza vaccine in children with leukemia undergoing chemotherapy. J Formos Med Assoc 2002;101:700-4.
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None


DOI: 10.4103/1755-6783.85772

Paul Mies has now been involved with test reports and comparing products for a decade. He is a highly sought-after specialist in these areas as well as in general health and nutrition advice. With this expertise and the team behind atmph.org, they test, compare and report on all sought-after products on the Internet around the topics of health, slimming, beauty and more. The results are ultimately summarized and disclosed to readers.


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