Unicancer contributes to common prevention, diagnostic and therapeutic strategies to fight against infections associated with patient care. Each year, Unicancer takes part in the European immunization week using the tools developed by the GPIC expert group.

A dedicated group of experts

The Cancer Infection Control Group (Groupe pour la prévention des infections en cancérologie – GPIC) is a collaborative inter-centres group created in 2007 to integrate the fight against healthcare-associated infections (HAI) into the overall management and care of the patient. In particular, it works to define common prevention, diagnostic and therapeutic strategies as well as the choice of common indicators. Using the tools it developed, Unicancer teams up with European immunization week each year.

2021 campaign – Experts and witnesses on COVID-19 vaccines

If I have cancer:

  • Do I have to get vaccinated against COVID-19?
  • Are there interactions between the vaccine and cancer treatment? 
  • Are the vaccines safe and effective? 

These are just an exemples of questions that cancer patients are asking themselves in this year, marked by the uncertainties of this pandemic. During the 2021 European vaccination week (17 to 21 May 2021), Dr Benjamin Wyplosz, infectious diseases specialist at Gustave Roussy answers questions on vaccination against COVID-19

European immunization week 2021

Answers to cancer patients’ questions (in French)

Why I chose to get vaccinated…

Read what Emmanuelle Hoche, former Henri Becquerel cancer centre patient has to say.

So you decided to take the vaccine against COVID-19. Was it an obvious choice for you?

Even if I have always been in favour of vaccination in general and I get the flu vaccine each year or when a trip abroad requires it, I must admit that to begin with, I was not in a hurry to get the new vaccines.

I wondered whether the vaccine would be dangerous for me, if it was ready to be marketed, if it was effective… the type of questions you might ask yourself when you do not come from a medical background.

Then I thought about it and I said that exceptional human and financial resources were being put in place to accelerate research. It then made sense that we would get faster results that way.

As I needed information more reliable than my opinion alone, I discussed it with doctors at Centre Henri Becquerel, Rouen. They were more than in favour of it and even impatient to get vaccinated themselves. As for my general practitioner, she only confirmed what they said and also told me about the infamous “benefit-risk” of treatments, which we hear a lot about when we go through cancer.

As I trust “my” doctors, it did not take much more to convince me to take action. 

So would you recommend that everyone get vaccinated today?

I do not feel comfortable advising anyone to get vaccinated or not. However, I am convinced that I made the right choice and if I had to do it again, I would without hesitation.

Beyond my personal interests, I thought about my friends, my family, my colleagues and everyone I am brought to come into contact with. My heart also goes out to all doctors and nurses who need us to help them by avoiding, at least, serious forms of COVID-19.

Getting vaccinated is to fight, on an individual level, and to make a collective effort to come out of the pandemic. It is a civic-minded commitment, in the same way as observing the protective measures that we all know well. 

A last word for people who might read this interview?

Getting vaccinated means stacking all the odds in your favour to be able to get together with family again, go out with friends again, go to matches, see shows, go out for meals, on holiday… It’s choosing to enjoy life. 

“Cancer and vaccination” resources

The doctors in the GPIC have selected some documents for you to help you better understand vaccination in cancer patients.

Feel free to download them!


Ten reasons why the vaccines against SARS-CoV-2 were produced in record time without cutting corners


Flyer on vaccination 


Information sheet on the vaccination of adult patients treated for cancer


Vaccines against COVID-19: questions and answers (in French)

For further information

Groupe pour la prévention des infections en cancérologie (GPIC)

For further information

Prevention and screening of cancer