Do you plan to get a COVID-19 vaccine? I do.
One is now available to some residents of the U.K., and approval in the U.S. of one or more likely will happen soon.
Though the U.S.-based National Multiple Sclerosis Society has said only that people with MS should consider getting a COVID-19 vaccine, the U.K.’s Multiple Sclerosis Society has issued specific vaccine guidance for people with MS.
A trio of COVID-19 vaccines
The vaccine approved by U.K. officials uses a messenger RNA (mRNA) model developed by the companies Pfizer and BioNTech. Two other vaccines are far along in the approval pipeline. One, produced by the company Moderna, also uses the mRNA model. The other, produced by the company AstraZeneca and the University of Oxford, is a viral vector vaccine.
All of these vaccine candidates seek to generate an immune response to SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19. But they work differently.
The mRNA vaccines use a laboratory-made genetic code of the virus to produce the antigens to create an immune response. These vaccines are not based on a live virus.
Viral vector vaccines use a weakened version of a virus to generate that immunity. It’s not the SARS-CoV-2 virus. Rather, it’s a weakened, harmless version of an adenovirus that causes the common cold in chimpanzees. It doesn’t cause disease in humans. It’s important for people with multiple sclerosis to realize that this is not the same as the live, or live-attenuated, virus vaccines that people with MS are generally advised to avoid.
How will the vaccines affect people with MS?
According to the U.K.’s MS Society, none of these COVID-19 vaccines are expected to cause a relapse or make someone’s MS worse. They’re also not expected to be dangerous to people who are taking disease-modifying therapies (DMTs).
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