Coronavirus vaccine and pancreatic cancer

Find out about the coronavirus vaccine and what this means for people with pancreatic cancer.

This information was accurate when it was published. We update it regularly, but things do change. Check the current situation in England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland.

Who can have the coronavirus vaccine?

The NHS will contact people who are eligible for the vaccine. People at higher risk will be offered a booster dose this autumn.

Some treatments for pancreatic cancer, such as chemotherapy and some radiotherapy and steroids, may lower your immunity. If you have not yet had the vaccine and are about to start any of these treatments, your doctors should consider giving you the vaccine before you start the treatment. If you are due to start any of these treatments, speak to your doctor about the vaccine.

It is important that you have all doses of the vaccine when it is offered to you, as it should protect you from getting seriously ill from coronavirus.

Do I need a third dose?

People who had a weakened immune system when they had their first two doses of the vaccine may be offered a third dose. You might have a weakened immune system if you were having chemotherapy or radiotherapy in the six months before you had your first two doses.

This is because chemotherapy and radiotherapy affect your body’s immune system, so the vaccine doesn’t work as well as usual during and for a short time after, these treatments. There is now some evidence that if you had the vaccine while your immune system was affected by these treatments, you may not get as much benefit from two doses as other people. So a third dose is now recommended to ‘top up’ your protection levels.

If you think are eligible for a third dose but haven’t been offered it, speak to your hospital doctor or GP.

A third dose is different to the booster. A third dose improves your protection against coronavirus. A booster dose will mean that you are protected for longer.

Read more about the third dose.

Questions about the vaccine?

If you have any questions about the vaccine and pancreatic cancer, you can speak to our specialist nurses on our free Support Line.

Speak to our specialist nurses
Specialist nurse Rachel

Updated: September 2023