Based on expert consensus and available data, we offer the following guidance regarding COVID-19 vaccination for people on MS disease modifying therapies (DMTs).
The Pfizer BioNTech and Moderna vaccines are safe for people with MS and they are safe to use with MS DMTs1. Most DMTs are not expected to affect the responses to the Pfizer BioNTech or Moderna vaccines, though some (see details below) may make the vaccines less effective and coordinating the timing of vaccine administration with these DMTs may provide the best vaccine response2.
Given the potential serious health consequences of COVID-19 disease, getting the vaccine when it becomes available to you may be more important than optimally timing the vaccine with your DMT.
The decision of when to get the COVID-19 vaccine should include an evaluation of your risk of COVID-19, including your occupation, and the current state of your MS. Work with your MS healthcare provider to determine the best schedule for you. If the risk of your MS worsening outweighs your risk of COVID-19, do not alter your DMT schedule and get the vaccine when it is available to you.
Vaccination against COVID-19 is critical for public safety and, especially, the safety of the most vulnerable among us. Get your vaccine as soon as it is available to you. If you have MS, visit nationalMSsociety.org/covid19 to learn the latest about COVID-19 vaccines and MS.
People living with multiple sclerosis (MS) are seeking peace of mind on the safety and effectiveness of the COVID-19 vaccines. In response, the Society convened a group of expert researchers and medical professionals to review the available science and make fact-based recommendations.
We do not know how many people in the vaccine clinical trials had MS, so data on the safety and effectiveness of COVID-19 vaccines in those with MS is not yet available. Our guidance is based on data from the general population in the vaccine clinical trials and data from studies of other vaccines in MS. Our guidance will be updated and become more detailed as more is learned from scientific studies of the vaccines.
This guidance only applies to the approved mRNA vaccines in the United States, Pfizer BioNTech and Moderna. As there are different vaccines available in other countries, this guidance may not apply to those living outside of the US.
The science has shown us that the COVID-19 vaccines are safe and effective. Like other medical decisions, the decision to get a vaccine is best made in partnership with your healthcare provider. Most people with relapsing and progressive forms of MS should be vaccinated. The risks of COVID-19 disease outweigh any potential risks from the vaccine. In addition, members of the same household and close contacts should also get a COVID-19 vaccine when available to decrease the impact of the virus.
People with progressive MS, those who are older, those who have a higher level of physical disability, those with certain medical conditions (e.g., diabetes, high blood pressure, obesity, heart and lung disease, pregnancy), and Black and Hispanic populations are among groups with the highest risk for hospitalization due to COVID-19. Individuals in these high risk groups are especially encouraged to get the vaccine as soon as it becomes available to you.
These COVID-19 vaccines require two doses. You need to get both doses for it to work. If you’ve had COVID-19 and recovered, you should also get the vaccine. We don’t know how long someone is protected from getting COVID-19 again.
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