Many people with MS have concerns about the safety of routine vaccinations and vaccinations required for travel to other countries. In general, it is recommended that people with MS receive vaccines according to the standard vaccine schedule.
Information about specific vaccines
2023-2024 Seasonal Flu Vaccine
The composition of U.S. influenza (flu) vaccines is reviewed annually by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and updated each year to match circulating flu viruses.
- The CDC has determined it is safe for you to get the influenza vaccine and other vaccines at the same time as the COVID-19 vaccine.
- Routine annual influenza vaccination is recommended by the CDC for everyone over 6 months of age who does not have a specific reason they cannot get the vaccine. The AAN recommends that people with MS should receive the annual influenza vaccine unless they have a specific reason they cannot get it.
- The AAN recommends against using live vaccines (e.g., FluMist nasal spray) in people with MS who are currently taking a DMT. For some DMTs, there are also restrictions from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for the timing of a live vaccine after discontinuing a DMT. Prior to receiving a live vaccine, discuss the risks, benefits and appropriate timing with your MS healthcare provider.
- Pregnant and postpartum women are at higher risk for severe illness and complications from influenza. Getting vaccinated while pregnant can help protect your baby from the flu after birth. Read more on the CDC website and work with your healthcare provider on what vaccines you should receive during pregnancy.
There are many vaccine options for this flu season. Work with your provider to determine the most appropriate option for you.
Vaccination against COVID-19 is critical for public safety and, especially, the safety of the most vulnerable among us. Review our guidance to learn more about COVID-19 vaccines and MS.
Human papillomavirus (HPV) vaccine (Gardasil®)
Hepatitis B vaccine
- This vaccine is designed to prevent cancer, cervical dysplasias, vulvar and vaginal dysplasias, and condyloma acuminate related to certain types of the human papillomavirus in females ages 9 to 26. Discuss benefits and risks of Gardasil with your healthcare provider.
- A large-scale study of patient registries in Denmark and Sweden found no increased risk of developing MS among nearly 800,000 people who received this vaccine.
(updated May 22, 2023)
Pneumococcal (pneumonia) vaccines
- The CDC recommends the JYNNEOS vaccine for people who have been exposed to mpox or who may be more likely to get mpox, even if they have a weakened immune system.
- The JYNNEOS vaccine is the primary vaccine being used during this outbreak in the U.S. While the ACAM2000 vaccine is also available, this vaccine should be avoided by people with MS.
- Vaccination with JYNNEOS is safe for people with MS, including those who are immunocompromised.
- For more information about the JYNNEOS vaccine, please visit the CDC website.
Respiratory Syncytial Virus (RSV) vaccines (Abrysvo™, Arexvy®)
- There are four pneumococcal vaccines (Prevnar 13®, Vazneuvance®, Prevnar 20® and Pneumovax23®). Which vaccine is given is determined by age or other factors.
- Pneumococcal vaccines are inactivated. Inactivated vaccines are considered safe for people with MS.
- According to the American Academy of Neurology recommendations on immunizations for people with MS, pneumococcal vaccine should be considered for individuals with compromised pulmonary function, including those who use a wheelchair on a full-time basis or are bed-bound.
Shingles vaccine (Shingrix®)
- The RSV vaccines protect against respiratory syncytial virus which can cause a variety of respiratory illnesses and symptoms.
- The CDC recommends adults 60 years and older may receive a single dose of RSV vaccine, based on shared clinical decision-making with your healthcare provider.
- People 60 and older who are at high risk include those with neurological conditions and/or are immune compromised.
- The RSV vaccine may be given at the same time as other vaccines.
- The CDC recommends Shingrix, a non-live vaccine for the prevention of herpes zoster (shingles) and related complications. Shingrix is approved for adults 50 years and older.
- People who are age 19 or older and are taking certain MS medications should receive a Shingrix vaccine. It is important to discuss this vaccine with your MS healthcare provider.
- No studies of Shingrix have been done in people with MS. However, in two clinical studies with Shingrix, there was no increase in immune-mediated conditions.
Varicella (chicken pox) vaccine
- While this vaccine has not been studied in people with MS, it should be made available to any person with MS directly exposed to smallpox as the risks associated with not getting vaccinated would be too great.
- This vaccine should be considered by people with MS who have never had chicken pox, lack evidence of prior immunity, and are considering starting certain MS medications. After getting the vaccine, the length of time you will have to wait before starting these medications varies – talk to your healthcare provider to learn more about the waiting period.