Radiotherapy and covid vaccination

I am due to start radiotherapy in March, which may co-incide with my age group being offered covid vaccination. Has anyone been in this situation? Is it OK to have vaccination,  or is it preferable to wait till treatment completed? Interested in your views or experiences?

  • I was offered the vaccine a week before my mastectomy and was advised by my consultant to wait until at least a week post surgery.  I had the vaccine last week with no issues. I will get my tissue and node biopsy results this week to determine what adjuvant treatment is needed. My understanding is that ideally all cancer patients should be vaccinated if possible before treatment or in between cycles of treatment, please speak to your breast care nurse for further advice and clarification. Good luck Wink 

  • Hi , my rads were 2 years ago so don’t have any Covid related experiences but I did have a load of vaccines the summer after rads before going to Bali. When I asked at the travel clinic whether it mattered that I’d recently had radiotherapy I was told that they normally recommend not having vaccines too soon after rads because your immune response to the vaccine may not be as strong, so the vaccine might be less effective. In the end I did have some first doses (rabies I think) earlier than recommended because I needed to fit in the other doses before the holiday. I never felt that it was a big no-no, just that it was a recommendation. The other thing that was never clear, was whether breast rads mattered as much as rads elsewhere in the body where it would directly affect your immune system. Like so many things I felt there wasn’t really a definitive answer! 

    I would definitely seek advice as it may well be much better to have the vaccine even if it’s during rads, to get the protection from Covid as it’s a risk to us all right now. My situation was very different as it was for a holiday in several months time. Good luck with it all, HFxx

    HappyFeet1 xx
    Don’t be afraid to cry. It will free your mind of sorrowful thoughts. – Hopi
  • Thank you very much for your replies ericajackie and Happy Feet, you have been very helpful, I am seeing someone soon re rt so I will ask their advice too, so reassuring to have real people who are Blushahead of me to ask advice Blush xx

  • Hi there, I had my first vaccination a couple of weeks ago and start radiotherapy on 15 March. Like the flu jab, the COVID jab isn’t a live vaccination, so your body doesn’t have to fight it off with an immune response - I am under hospital treatment for psoriasis and this was explained by my consultant.  Always best to ask and check with your radiotherapist. X

  • I had my vaccination on 9th December just a couple of weeks after my surgery.. RT last week and all ok.

    So important that we get them when we can. 

    Good luck.

    Debs x

  • I had my first covid jab one week after my surgery (lumpectomy & lymph node clearance). I was invited by my oncologist and went to the Marsden Hosp where they have set up a clinic to vaccinate all of their patients. I think you will be offered it before others in your age category because of your cancer but your oncologist will need to work out when is the best time for you to have it within your treatment plan. At the Marsden they are generally vaccinating patients when they need to come to the hospital for other appts. 
    I was quite apprehensive about having it so soon after surgery but it was actually ok. There was a dr to ask any questions before I had it and the nurse doing it was very kind and reassuring. I had a sore arm for a few days and a headache but otherwise ok. 
    All the very best when you have yours and I hope your RT goes well too. xx

  • Thank you so much for your responses, it sounds very much like different health authorities have different ideas. 

    I asked the question at my appointment prior to rad treatment and was told better to have vaccination before or after treatment but no time scales given. 

    I've not been offered vaccine yet  I think at 64, I might be in next group, which could allow for rt to have completed! 


  • I had my vaccine while having radiotherapy, it wiped me out i was so tired and my arm went dead for 2 days (astrazenca , oxford one) but after 2 days i was fine, but it does affect everyone differently x