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Multiple Sclerosis & COVID-19

What you need to know about COVID-19 risks, treatment guidance, vaccines and resources.

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No one has to face multiple sclerosis alone. We are here to provide the science-based answers you need to make informed decisions and feel supported while living in the age of COVID-19.

COVID-19 risk for people with MS

Current evidence shows that simply having MS does not make you more likely than the general population to develop COVID-19, become severely ill or die from the infection. However, certain factors have been shown to increase the risk of a severe case of COVID-19:

  • Progressive MS
  • Older age
  • Male sex
  • Black race
  • Using a mobility device or a wheelchair
  • Obesity (body mass index of 30 or higher)
  • Other chronic health conditions, like diabetes or heart disease, in addition to MS
  • Taking steroid medications
  • Taking certain disease modifying therapies called anti-CD20 monoclonal antibodies (Ocrevus and Rituxan and biosimilars)
See guidance for timing MS medications with COVID-19 vaccinesLearn more about who is at increased risk for severe illness from COVID-19 from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

Relapses during the COVID-19 pandemic

Relapses are always a concern with MS and especially during COVID. Seek medical advice if you experience changes in your health that may suggest a relapse or another underlying issue, such as an infection. You may be able to manage your symptoms at home via telephone or video consultations.

During this time, use steroids only after careful consideration with a healthcare provider experienced in the treatment of MS and only for serious relapses. There is some evidence that receiving high-dose steroids in the month prior to contracting COVID-19 increases the risk of a more severe infection. If you receive steroid treatment for a relapse, be extra vigilant. You may want to consider self-isolating for at least a month.

Maternal health

At this time, there is no specific advice for women with MS who are pregnant or breastfeeding. Refer to the CDC’s general information on COVID-19 and pregnancy and breastfeeding.

Children with MS

There is no specific medical advice for children with MS. Follow the advice for all people with MS. The COVID-19 vaccine is now authorized for children age 5 and older. For more information, refer to the CDC’s COVID-19 recommendations for children and to our page COVID-19 Vaccines for Children and Adolescents with MS.  

Visit Pediatric MS to learn more about MS in young people.

Information for MS healthcare providers

Healthcare providers who treat people with MS can find information on prophylactics and therapeutics, a vaccine conversation tip sheet and other resources on the COVID-19 Information for Healthcare Providers page.


More News

No One Has to Face MS Alone

From connecting with others affected by MS in your community to participating in fundraising events or giving financially – find your place in the MS movement.

Surveys and research studies are recruiting people affected by MS — those who have been diagnosed with COVID-19 and those who have not — to learn about their experience with COVID-19 and the impact of the vaccines.

Share Your Experience

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