COVID-19 Vaccinations and Multiple Sclerosis DMTs: Amit Bar-Or, MD, FRCPC, FAAN, FANA

The chief of the Multiple Sclerosis Division at the Perelman School of Medicine, University of Pennsylvania, discussed recommendations for COVID-19 vaccination in this patient population, specifically for those on disease-modifying therapies. [WATCH TIME: 2 minutes]

WATCH TIME: 2 minutes

“While we continue to believe that vaccines are important in individuals living with MS, and that there's no added risk of the vaccine in individuals just by the virtue of him or her having MS, we also do not think that being on any of the DMTs pose risks of the vaccination—there are though some contexts in which the DMTs may limit the maximum vaccine response.”

At the recent 2021 Annual Meeting of the Consortium of Multiple Sclerosis Centers (CMSC), October 25-28, Amit Bar-Or, MD, FRCPC, FAAN, FANA, Melissa and Paul Anderson President’s Distinguished Professor; director, Center for Neuroinflammation and Neurotherapeutics; and chief, Multiple Sclerosis Division, department of neurology, Perelman School of Medicine, University of Pennsylvania, gave a presentation outlining research and expert opinions on the safety and efficacy of the available COVID-19 vaccines for patients with multiple sclerosis also on disease-modifying therapies (DMTs). Following his presentation, Bar-Or sat down with NeurologyLive to further discuss findings, as well as recommendations for this patient population.

According to Bar-Or, emerging data on vaccine response has informed experts on the interaction of that vaccines and DMTs, noting that experts do not believe any risk is posed if a patient gets vaccinated while also on a DMT. There is, however, concern about maximal vaccine response, with Bar-Or suggesting that patients ensure vaccinations are “up to speed” prior to starting a high-efficacy therapy, such as an anti-CD20 agent. As the currently approved COVID-19 vaccinations are not categorized as live or attenuated, Bar-Or added there is no associated risk of the vaccine contributing to or spreading infection, nor causing infection-related complications in vaccinated patients.

For more coverage of CMSC 2021, click here.