PITTSBURGH (KDKA) – Anthony Villiotti has had liver cancer and a liver transplant. He takes medicines to suppress his immune system, so getting a COVID-19 vaccine was on his mind.

“I ran it by the doctors to make sure they didn’t see any issue with it, but I was very anxious to get the vaccine.”

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When his doctor said there would be no problem, he jumped at the chance.

“I was pretty determined to get it,” he said.

The National Comprehensive Cancer Care Network has issued guidelines for people with cancer on how to best prevent COVID-19. The group recommends that people actively being treated for cancer, or within six months of treatment, get the vaccine.

“I urge them to get it, and tell them they are at high risk,” says AHN cancer specialist Dr. Cyrus Khan. “The cancer immunocompromises them, as well as the treatments which further immunocompromises them.”

With certain treatments, though, such as stem cell transplants, patients will want to wait three months before getting a vaccine.

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Dr. Khan admits there is incomplete information about the COVID vaccines in cancer patients.

“We know it is likely to be safe to be given to cancer patients. The only downside might be that their antibody response to the vaccine might be not that strong. But some protection is better than no protection,” Dr. Khan said.

Also, caregivers and close contacts should be immunized when possible.

“Like when you play football,” says Dr. Khan. “The quarterback is protected at all costs by everybody else.”

Anthony got his two doses, and his wife got hers, too.

“She wants to go on vacation. So we’re anxious to get out of the house, see something other than our four walls,” he says.

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They’re looking forward to venturing out.