This page provides a collection of articles, frequently asked questions and interviews with international MPN specialist haematologists and immunologists about COVID-19 and COVID-19 vaccinations and treatments.
Eligibility for COVID antivirals widened from 11 July 2022
All Australians aged over 70 who test positive to COVID are now able to access antivirals on the Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme (PBS). People aged over 50 with two or more risk factors for severe disease, Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander people aged over 30 with two or more risk factors for severe disease and immunocompromised people over 18 may also be eligible. This is important because COVID-19 can be very serious for adults in high-risk groups, even when they are fully vaccinated. The full statement from the Australian Government is available HERE and information about antiviral treatments and their eligibility criteria are available HERE.
Other COVID important findings from Australia and overseas
As of July 2022, from quality evidence based sources, we have noted the following important findings relating to COVID-19 and MPN patients.
- It is recommended that MPN patients be fully vaccinated against COVID-19 with third and fourth doses.
- MPN patients may now be eligible for COVID antivirals and should check their eligibility. Patients with myelofibrosis (MF) on ruxolitinib will be eligible and also must continue their ruxolitinib treatment. However patients on ruxolitinib are able to take only certain antivirals so will need to check with their haematologist as to which antivirals are suitable.
- As noted above, for MPN patients on ruxolitinib therapy who have a COVID-19 diagnosis, strong advice is that ruxolitinib treatment should continue during treatment for COVID-19.
- Vaccinated MPN patients should continue to follow COVID-19 safe protocols, including following risk mitigation strategies (wearing a good quality mask and social distancing) and having family and household contacts vaccinated, although antibody responses from MPN patients to COVID-19 vaccines are reportedly effective.
COVID-19 vaccine specific information for haematology patients
COVID-19 vaccinations – Leukaemia Foundation (Australia) – regularly updated, evidence based information for Australian blood cancer patients.
The page includes a link to the September 2021 webinar ‘COVID-19 vaccinations, fact and fiction’.
COVID-19 and MPN specific information
What are the long term effects of COVID 19 in patients with MPN – courtesy of MPN-Hub, short video from Dr Tiziano Barbui, July 2021
Second versus first wave of COVID-19 in MPN patients – a European study, January 2022
High mortality rate in COVID-19 patients with myeloproliferative neoplasms after abrupt withdrawal of ruxolitinib,
2021, Nature Public Health Emergency Collection
Essential Thrombocythemia is associated with a higher risk of thrombosis during COVID 19 – MPN-Hub, March 2021
COVID-19 Astra Zeneca vaccine and the risk of blood clots – MPN Voice UK – April 2021
COVID-19 and Myeloproliferative Neoplasms: Frequently Asked Questions – American Society of Hematology
Ruben Mesa short video on MPNs and COVID-19 – courtesy of the MPN Advocacy & Education International
More general COVID-19 information
New Clinical Guidelines on COVID-19 Published for Haematology and Oncology – Medical Journal of Australia
Cancer and COVID-19 – Cancer Council of Australia
Blood Cancer and COVID-19 – Leukaemia Foundation
COVID-19 information in graphics, including translations – NSW government
Translated COVID-19 information – Victorian government
CORONACAST podcast – the ABC’s Dr Norman Swan
Keeping well with an MPN
In these uncertain times it’s even more important to look after our health when we have an MPN.
Our website has several pages dedicated to helping you to keep well with an MPN. They include:
- Accredited Practising Dietitian Nathalie Cook’s advice for MPN patients on looking after cardio-vascular health as well as the value of maintaining muscle strength.
- a meditation from Asher Packman.