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12th January 2021

Important information – A special Covid-19 vaccine bulletin

Important vaccine clarification:

There has been much concern and anxiety following the statement by Prof Salisbury on BBC News 24 that the Oxford vaccine is a ‘live’ vaccine and that it may not be suitable for patients with low immunity.

To be clear – NONE of the three COVID vaccines licensed in the UK are considered to be live vaccines – the Oxford vaccine is NOT a live vaccine and the same applies to the Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna vaccines.

The worrying statement by Prof Salisbury and the concern that this has caused for blood cancer patients has been discussed by the leading CLL doctors in the UK and patient charities.

We have contacted Prof Salisbury and referred him to the statements made by Prof Andrew Pollard, who is the lead for the Oxford/AstraZeneca trial and Prof Saul Faust, a member of the NIHR COVID-19 vaccine trial delivery group, that the vaccines currently available are non-replicating and are therefore safe for CLL patients. Professor Salisbury has since issued the following statement:

“I would like to clarify my position on the use of Pfizer or AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccines for immunocompromised individuals after comments that I made on the BBC on 07 January 2021 – I fully support the use of either vaccine.”

CLL patients often have a poor immune response to vaccinations but the COVID-19 vaccine could still offer a level of protection, and some protection is better than none because of the risk of becoming seriously ill from COVID-19.

It’s not possible to know at the moment if any one coronavirus vaccine is more effective than another for people with CLL and not enough people with CLL have had any vaccine yet to assess their responses.

If you are offered the vaccine, our advice is to have it as soon as possible, whichever vaccine you are offered.

There is more information about COVID-19 vaccines on our website:

Covid Vaccine Q&A

CLL Support Webinar – 16 December 2020

Please remember that, even after receiving a vaccination against Covid-19, it takes several weeks to become fully effective. Therefore, you should still maintain social distancing, regular handwashing and mask wearing. You must also abide by the current national lockdown restrictions.

Please stay safe
CLL Support trustees