Australia and New Zealand consensus position statement: use of COVID-19 therapeutics in patients with haematological malignancies

Intern Med J. 2024 Feb;54(2):328-336. doi: 10.1111/imj.16303. Epub 2023 Dec 25.


Despite widespread vaccination rates, we are living with high transmission rates of SARS-CoV-2. Although overall hospitalisation rates are falling, the risk of serious infection remains high for patients who are immunocompromised because of haematological malignancies. In light of the ongoing pandemic and the development of multiple agents for treatment, representatives from the Haematology Society of Australia and New Zealand and infectious diseases specialists have collaborated on this consensus position statement regarding COVID-19 management in patients with haematological disorders. It is our recommendation that both patients with haematological malignancies and treating specialists be educated regarding the preventive and treatment options available and that patients continue to receive adequate vaccinations, keeping in mind the suboptimal vaccine responses that occur in haematology patients, in particular, those with B-cell malignancies and on B-cell-targeting or depleting therapy. Patients with haematological malignancies should receive treatment for COVID-19 in accordance with the severity of their symptoms, but even mild infections should prompt early treatment with antiviral agents. The issue of de-isolation following COVID-19 infection and optimal time to treatment for haematological malignancies is discussed but remains an area with evolving data. This position statement is to be used in conjunction with advice from infectious disease, respiratory and intensive care specialists, and current guidelines from the National COVID-19 Clinical Evidence Taskforce and the New Zealand Ministry of Health and Cancer Agency Te Aho o Te Kahu COVID-19 Guidelines.

Keywords: COVID-19; antivirals; immunosuppression; lymphoma; myeloma.

MeSH terms

  • COVID-19*
  • Consensus
  • Hematologic Neoplasms* / complications
  • Hematologic Neoplasms* / therapy
  • Humans
  • New Zealand / epidemiology
  • SARS-CoV-2