COVID-19 - Advice For Childhood Cancer & Bone Marrow Transplant Patients

COVID-19 - Advice For Childhood Cancer & Bone Marrow Transplant Patients

The Australian and NZ Children's Haematology and Oncology Group advises it is safe for all siblings and the vast majority of childhood cancer and bone marrow transplant patients to be at school when schools are open.

Key points to remember about COVID-19 and childhood cancer and bone marrow transplant patients

  • it is safe for all siblings and the vast majority of childhood cancer and bone marrow transplant patients to be at school at Alert Levels 1 and 2
  • if your doctor said it was safe for your child to go to school before the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, it is safe for your child to go to school at these alert levels
  • if your region moves to Alert Level 3 or 4, check the alert system overview at the Government's Unite Against COVID-19 website

Why is it safe for most childhood cancer and bone marrow transplant patients to return to school?

  • children are far less likely than adults to contract SARS-CoV-2 infection and the risk of severe COVID-19 disease in those that do is very low
  • the evidence suggests that most immunosuppressed children are not at a significantly higher risk of severe COVID-19 disease than other children the same age
  • the very low rates of community transmission mean that the risk of contracting SARS-CoV-2 infection is currently very low - the ready availability of testing and good contact tracing capability mean that we are well placed to isolate and contain outbreaks as they happen
  • there is good evidence to suggest that children don't spread SARS-CoV-2 like adults - child to child transmission is rare and the evidence suggests that it is very unusual for children with no symptoms to spread the disease
  • the low risk of contracting SARS-CoV-2 is likely to continue for many months or even longer, depending on if and when a vaccine becomes available - it is not in children's best interests to exclude them from school indefinitely when the evidence suggests that the risk of developing severe COVID-19 is very low.

For more information, see Updated advice for pediatric oncology and BMT patients during the COVID-19 pandemic (PDF, 732KB). This is the latest advice, 8 May 2020, from the Australian and New Zealand Children's Haematology and Oncology Group.

This page last reviewed 13 August 2020.
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