Cancer Council promotes optimal vaccine coverage

Cancer Council NSW has added its voice to the importance of achieving optimal COVID-19 vaccine coverage and help reduce the risks of long-term COVID-19 impacts on cancer outcomes.

Director of Cancer Prevention and Advocacy, Anita Dessaix, said it was important for Cancer Council NSW, as an independent, evidence-based health promotion charity, to promote the need to achieve optimal vaccine coverage as soon as possible.

“The evidence is clear that optimal vaccine coverage is key to controlling COVID-19 in NSW.

“Evidence is also strengthening that COVID-19 poses a threat to cancer outcomes.

“During the 2020 lockdown, we saw disruptions to cancer screening services and program participation which is aimed at detecting cancer earlier.

“We know that COVID-19 is especially harmful if contracted by individuals undergoing cancer treatment.

“While there is a lot of confusion and misinformation out there, the evidence is clear that vaccines work and that accelerating the control of COVID-19 will support our focus on controlling cancer, which remains the leading cause of premature death in the state,” Dessaix said.

Dessaix said that while it was a matter for government to deliver the vaccine rollout and make decisions on public health orders, it was in everyone’s interest to optimise vaccine coverage.

“Vaccines are among the most successful public health measures in history in relation to disease control and increasing human life expectancy.

“Human papillomavirus vaccine is pivotal to our goal of eliminating cervical cancer, while poor access to vaccines for hepatitis B is a key reason liver cancer is more prevalent in developing countries and disadvantaged communities,” Dessaix said.

Blue Haven based cancer survivor, Adele Miller, said everyone has the choice to get the vaccine and getting it will be the quickest way to getting out of lockdown.

“I received my second dose of Pfizer on Wednesday, and my husband and I decided to get it to protect my 80-year-old mother.

“We discussed it with our doctor who recommended it, so we just went and got it.

“We didn’t have any adverse reactions and now I’m fully vaccinated.

“Everyone needs to make their own decision and everyone has their own body, so if you want it and you can get it, then go ahead.

“It’s the only way we’re getting out of this lockdown anytime soon.

“If we all want to go back to living life, then it’s a no brainer,” Miller said.

People living with cancer should discuss their COVID-19 vaccine requirement with their doctor.

Now is an ideal time for someone who is due for their screening to complete the test.

The bowel cancer screening test is done at home, with the sample sent in the mail.

COVID-19 has made life even more challenging for people affecting by cancer, with increased levels of emotional and financial stress.

Cancer Council is here to help.

Harry Mulholland

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