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The implementation of treatment regimens for Hodgkin lymphoma (HL) in the face of COVID-19 is often individualized. Treatments for HL can result in an increased risk of infections and complications due to the immunosuppressive effects of therapy. In addition, standard treatments for HL, including bleomycin and radiation therapy, can increase the risk of pulmonary toxicity. Adverse events associated with the SARS-CoV-2 vaccines may be a concern for HL patients due to their intrinsic abnormalities in cellular immunity.

This study, published in the Journal of Clinical Oncology for the 2022 ASCO Annual Meeting, conducted a single-institution questionnaire for patients treated for HL. Electronic medical records were used to identify such patients, who were then given the opportunity to answer 19 questions about their experience with the COVID-19 pandemic. The researchers sought to determine the percentage of patients who experienced adverse events within 7 days of being administered the SARS-CoV-2 vaccine. 

A total of 30 patients, of which 26 were on active HL treatment, were enrolled in the study. Almost 30% of patients experienced a SARS-CoV-2 infection, with 75% of these patients contracting COVID-19 post-vaccination. 

No patients reported hospitalization or pulmonary issues after SARS-CoV-2 infection, and 67% reported not needing to cancel their appointments due to COVID-19-related problems throughout the pandemic. Most patients had done a telehealth visit at least once, and most of them reported a satisfactory experience. The most common adverse event after vaccination was pain around the injection site. No fatal or life-threatening events, unexpected toxicities, or autoimmune issues were reported following vaccination. 

In conclusion, based on the responses to the questionnaire in this study, the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on HL patients’ healthcare visits appears to be minimal. Moreover, vaccination against COVID-19 is safe and effective for this patient population [1].

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[1] Prischak, S. E., Ballard, H. J., Duca, A. N., Gerson, J. M., Landsburg, D. J., Barta, S. K., & Svoboda, J. (2022, May). COVID-19 pandemic experience in patients with Hodgkin lymphoma. 2022 ASCO Annual Meeting, Chicago, IL https://meetings.asco.org/abstracts-presentations/209344

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