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National Influenza Vaccination Week

December 4, 2016

For the 2016-2017 season, Centers for Disease Control (CDC) recommends use of the flu shot (inactivated influenza vaccine or IIV) and the recombinant influenza vaccine (RIV). The nasal spray flu vaccine (live attenuated influenza vaccine or LAIV) should not be used during 2016-2017.

Flu Shots for People with MS
Generally, inactivated vaccines are considered safe and live-virus vaccines are not recommended, however there are exceptions and special considerations. Decisions about the potential benefits and risks of any given immunization should be made in consultation with your healthcare providers.
  • Injectable seasonal flu vaccine – inactivated, considered safe. The CDC recommends for everyone over 6 months of age to get a flu shot annually. Individuals being treated with alemtuzumab (Lemtrada®) should be given the inactivated flu vaccine six weeks before receiving their infusion.
  • High-dose flu vaccine – inactivated, not recommended. A high-dose inactivated flu vaccine is available for adults over age 65, however the CDC does not specifically recommend its use. The high-dose vaccine has not been studied in people with MS of any age.
A Note About Pneumococcal Vaccines
The pneumococcal / pneumonia vaccines are inactivated, and considered safe for people with MS. The American Academy of Neurology recommends consideration of pneumococcal immunization for people with MS including individuals with compromised pulmonary function or limited mobility. In the general population, pneumococcal vaccines are recommended for all adults at least age 65.

About Multiple Sclerosis

Multiple sclerosis is an unpredictable, often disabling disease of the central nervous system that disrupts the flow of information within the brain, and between the brain and body. Symptoms range from numbness and tingling to blindness and paralysis. 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. Most people with MS are diagnosed between the ages of 20 and 50, with at least two to three times more women than men being diagnosed with the disease. MS affects more than 2.3 million people worldwide.

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