Ask the Doctor Question:
My husband has CLL and is in a clinical trial. We both had two Pfizer COVID-19 vaccines. He was tested for antibodies and had none and we know he is not protected. My adult children have also had both vaccines. They are out and about and around others. Is it safe for my CLL husband to be around them? Can he get COVID-19 or the Delta virus from our children because they have been around others who may not have had the vaccines?
Answer: Right now, it has become much less safe. He absolutely can get COVID from anyone who is not being extremely cautious as well. The Delta variant is spreading rapidly and also much more contagious than previous variants (with some reports indicating a viral load that is 1000 times higher than previous variants). We now know that the vaccines have not produced the immune response we had hoped for in CLL patients, and there are many known cases (now) of breakthrough cases in vaccinated individuals who are also spreading the virus to others. We recommend if you examine all the risks and do decide to meet and be around others, everyone around you should wear a tightly fitted mask (preferably an N-95) and to only meet socially distanced in an outdoor area.
Recently (just last week) we put out more guidance on this. Below are several links that we hope will provide a little more clarification. The bottom line is that we recommend all CLL patients behave as they did last summer with the same strict level of precautions, mainly because if someone with CLL becomes infected, the mortality rate rates are still much higher than the general population. Here are several recent links that will help: