May Cancer Center urges emphasis on cancer patients, survivors for COVID-19 vaccination

The Mays Cancer Center, home to UT Health San Antonio MD Anderson, is one of 130 groups that co-signed a letter urging the Biden administration and state health departments to prioritize cancer patients and survivors in COVID-19 vaccination plans.

The American Association for Cancer Research (AACR) sent President Biden the letter today and posted it online.

“There is mounting evidence that patients with cancer are at increased risk of severe illness and death if they are infected with the virus,” the letter stated. “In December 2020, an article published in the Journal of the American Medical Association presented data showing that patients with cancer who are diagnosed with COVID-19 are more likely to require hospitalization (47.46%) than persons without cancer who have been diagnosed with COVID-19 (24.26%).”

The letter also noted that there are more than 17 million survivors of cancer in the U.S., many of whom are at a higher risk of dying from COVID-19.

“The Mays Cancer Center is giving COVID-19 vaccinations to our patients who are in active treatment as well as to our survivors,” said Ruben Mesa, MD, executive director. “We must protect these patients against the coronavirus. Their risk of severe COVID-19 disease is much higher than healthy individuals.

“We join the nation’s other National Cancer Institute-designated Cancer Centers in pointing out the threat of COVID-19 to cancer patients and survivors, and in urging that these vulnerable individuals receive the vaccine as soon as is humanly possible.”

The Mays Cancer Center, home to UT Health San Antonio MD Anderson, is one of only four National Cancer Institute-designated Cancer Centers in Texas. The Mays Cancer Center provides leading-edge cancer care, propels innovative cancer research and educates the next generation of leaders to end cancer in South Texas. Visit

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