A recent global survey found that 42% of people with MS are concerned whether a COVID-19 vaccine would work for them as a result of their MS or MS treatment.
Although there are many vaccine trials taking place around the world, a vaccine for COVID-19 has not been approved and there are many questions that simply don’t have answers yet.6 Will the vaccine contain a live or inactive version of the virus? How long will immunity last? Will it be a one-off vaccination or will we need to regularly retreat like we do with the flu vaccine?
Vaccines work by preparing your immune system to respond to infection. It’s important to know that MS itself doesn’t impact the effectiveness of vaccinations. However, if you’re receiving treatment with a DMT, your body might be less effective at responding to vaccines in the way they should. This is because of the effect that DMTs can have on the immune system.
Having said that, a study reviewing research into the flu vaccination and MS found that the vaccine was effective and that most DMTs didn’t prevent protection against flu infection.
If you have MS, whether or not a vaccine is recommended is complicated. While it’s advised that people with MS follow the standard vaccination guidelines, there are exceptions. Whether or not a vaccine is recommended depends on the type of vaccine, your risk of exposure, what treatment you are taking and if you are experiencing an MS relapse. You should always consult with your doctor to see which circumstances are relevant for you.
Please be aware the coronavirus outbreak is an ongoing situation and COVID-19 is very much a new disease that we are continuing to learn more about. We have consulted patient organisations and trusted online resources to ensure we are providing you with the most up-to-date, relevant, expert information in relation to COVID-19 and MS. When performing your own online research, it is important to turn to trusted sources. Some examples include:
However, if you have specific concerns in relation to your own health or that of a loved one, we advise you contact your neurologist or MS nurse.