First, the National Institutes of Health (NIH), then the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), and most recently, the Center for Disease Control (CDC) are now recognizing that patients with chronic lymphocytic leukemia and small lymphocytic lymphoma (CLL / SLL) are immunocompromised, even when not in active treatment.
From the CDC guidelines for COVID-19 in the immunocompromised, I quote:
Who Is Moderately or Severely Immunocompromised?
Some people are immunocompromised (have a weakened immune system) due to a medical condition or from receipt of immunosuppressive medications or treatments.
Examples of medical conditions or treatments that may result in moderate to severe immunocompromise include but are not limited to:
- Active treatment for solid tumor and hematologic malignancies
- Hematologic malignancies associated with poor responses to COVID-19 vaccines regardless of current treatment status (e.g., chronic lymphocytic leukemia, non-Hodgkin lymphoma, multiple myeloma, acute leukemia)
The second bullet is new and the change we pushed for, reflecting the science and data.
This is great news for our community. It should result in easier access to present and future COVID-19 prophylaxis and treatments.
CLL Society is proud of our pivotal role in bringing about this important change through our advocacy and policy efforts.