Ask the Doctor Question:
I have been Watch and Wait for four years, and have had two Pfizer vaccines, plus the booster. My immunoglobulin levels are low, but I have been able to keep healthy with masking, distancing, etc.
My husband will be retiring at the end of the year, and we have been waiting for this opportunity to do some travel. If I wore an N95 mask, would it be safe to fly? We are looking to go to Spain next summer. Also, would preventive monoclonal antibodies help to get more protection for such a trip?
Answer: It is too early to say if travel next summer is safe or not. We certainly hope so! There are many things to consider in order to perform your own personal risk assessment and then going from there. Have you had your quantitative Spike protein antibody level drawn to know whether or not you responded to the vaccine adequately? That would play into the decision greatly as well. N-95’s provide much better protection than cloth masks do, but there is still an extreme level of risk with travel, especially on a crowded airplane while we are still in the midst of a pandemic with numbers still being high.
Preventative monoclonal antibodies would certainly provide an added layer of protection, but still are not fool proof. And as of right now, there are still none approved for preventative prophylaxis, even for the immunocompromised. We are very hopeful that AZ7442 will be receiving FDA emergency authorization use approval in the upcoming weeks or months. We just wrote an article on this particular drug that can be found here: https://cllsociety.org/2021/10/azd7442-reduced-risk-of-developing-severe-covid-19-or-death-in-tackle-phase-iii-outpatient-treatment-trial/
Hopefully, we will be in a much different situation by next summer. Speak with your CLL expert physician and discuss your wishes with them. In the meantime, continue to take strict precautions (as if you are not vaccinated) and make sure you have completed your COVID-19 Action Plan Checklists which can be found here: https://cllsociety.org/2021/07/covid-19-plan-checklists-for-chronic-lymphocytic-leukemia-cll-preparing-for-pre-and-post-covid-19-exposure/