Recent statements have highlighted concerns about the effectiveness of Covid-19 vaccines in patients with multiple sclerosis. Dr. Claude Meckis, President of the Regional Resource Center for Neurodegenerative Diseases, offers a nuance.
Do some drugs used to treat multiple sclerosis (MS) make the Covid-19 vaccine ineffective? Many patients have expressed concern about the recent comments posted on World Multiple Sclerosis Day. News from Dr. Claude Meckis, Neurologist, President of the Occitanie Regional Resource Center for Neurodegenerative Diseases.
“The nuance is required. In vaccination we are looking at antibody production, and it is indeed lower in patients taking ocresilumab (Ocrevus) or rituximab (about 20% of MS patients), but this is the expected effect, since these treatments act on B lymphocytes.
But this does not mean that the vaccine is ineffective, because vaccination not only generates antibodies, but also activates the immune system of cells. We do not have any scientific data on this cellular immunity with the Covid-19 vaccine. Only very rare cases of failure of vaccination with ocrelizumab or rituximab have been reported.
Three Recommended Doses
Faced with this uncertainty, academia and health authorities recommend an additional dose, that is, a total of three doses of messenger RNA vaccines with a four-week delay between doses 2 and 3.
Remember that vaccines do not increase the risk of relapse or worsening of multiple sclerosis and that there is no contraindication to vaccination. The risk of developing severe Covid-19 with multiple sclerosis is no higher than in the general population. Except for people over 65 years of age, in the case of metabolic and cardiovascular diseases, obesity or in the case of immunosuppressive treatment, ”explains Dr. Claude Meckis.