During the ELPIDA meeting, the main issue was the impact of COVID-19 on pediatric oncology. Queen Máxima and Rob Pieters, medical director of the Princess Maxima Center were therefore invited, together with various dignitaries from UNESCO and (pediatric) oncology centers from the US.
They emphasized that COVID-19 does not directly pose a major threat to individual children with cancer, but COVID-19 does have a major impact. After all, there is now a lot of pressure on the health system because of health care professionals who have tested positive for COVID-19. In addition, the 1.5 meter society disrupts the continuity of many research projects because researchers are not seen as essential for daily care, which means that many laboratory and clinical studies have been interrupted. And there has been a serious decline in fundraising and donations because fundraising-events cannot and may not be organized.
As a result, children who develop cancer in the future may be the most disadvantaged: various studies and thus the development of new therapies are delayed.
It was concluded that vaccines should be made available as soon as possible for both children with cancer and their healthcare professionals so that they can do what needs to be done again: improve the prognosis for childhood cancer.