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Society evaluating COVID-19 Vaccine

December 10, 2020

Safety for People with MS

We don’t know if people with MS were allowed to participate in the vaccine clinical trials. Until we have more definitive information about whether and how many people with MS participated, we are not able to say with certainty how safe and effective these vaccines will be for people living with MS.

Who is Evaluating

The National MS Society has convened a group of experts to provide guidance for people living with MS when making decisions around the safety, efficacy and the timing of COVID-19 vaccines with certain disease modifying therapies. Because this guidance cannot be based on data from clinical trials in MS, it will be based on information about how the various vaccines work, the immune changes that occur in MS and from disease modifying therapies.
This guidance will be broad initially and detailed considerations will be added over time as more is learned from scientific studies with the vaccine. This effort is being led by the Nancy Sicotte, MD (Cedars-Sinai Medical Center) who is the Chair of the Society’s National Medical Advisory Committee, and below is a list of other experts on the team:
  • Brenda Banwell, MD—pediatric MS expert from Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia
  • Amit Bar-Or, MD, FRCP, FAAN, FANA—immunology and MS expert from University of Pennsylvania
  • Jorge Correale, MD—infections, vaccines and MS expert from Raul Carrea Institute for Neurological Research, FLENI, Buenos Aires, Argentina
  • Anne Cross, MD—MS and B cell expert from Washington University
  • Jaime Imitola, MD, FAAN—progressive, late onset and minorities with MS expert from University of Connecticut
  • Dorlan Kimbrough, MD—immunology and MS expert from Duke University
  • Avindra Nath, MD—neurovirology and MS expert from National Institutes of Health
  • Scott Newsome, DO—immunology and MS expert from Johns Hopkins University and President of the Consortium of MS Centers
  • Nancy Sicotte, MD—immunology and MS expert from Cedars-Sinai Medical Center
  • Penny Smyth, MD, FRCPC, immunology and MS expert from the University of Alberta, Canada
  • Rachael Stacom, MS, ANP-BC, MSCN—long-term care and MS expert from Independence Care System)
The Society has now issued recommendations about the COVID-19 vaccine.

About Multiple Sclerosis

Multiple sclerosis is an unpredictable, often disabling disease of the central nervous system. Symptoms range from numbness and tingling to blindness and paralysis, and there is currently no cure for MS. The progress, severity and specific symptoms of MS in any one person cannot yet be predicted, but advances in research and treatment are leading to better understanding and moving us closer to a world free of MS. An estimated 1 million people live with MS in the United States. Most people with MS are diagnosed between the ages of 20 and 50, and it affects women three times more than men.


© 2023 The National Multiple Sclerosis Society is a tax exempt 501(c)3 nonprofit organization. Its Identification Number (EIN) is 13-5661935.