Perspectives and experiences with COVID-19 vaccines in people with MS

John R. Ciotti, Dana C. Perantie, Brandon P. Moss, Kathryn C. Fitzgerald, Jeffrey A. Cohen, Ellen M. Mowry, Robert T. Naismith, Salim Chahin

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Background: People with MS may have unique perspectives on COVID-19 vaccines due to their condition and/or medications. Objective: Assess perspectives and experiences with COVID-19 vaccination, and quantify variables impacting COVID-19 vaccine willingness in people with MS. Methods: A survey captured demographics, MS characteristics, and COVID-19 infection and exposures data; opinions on COVID-19 vaccine safety, side effects, and efficacy; and experiences following vaccination. Chi-square tests and a logistic regression model were used to denote between-group differences and variables predicting vaccine willingness, respectively. Results: Most (87.8%) of the 237 participants were willing to receive the vaccine. Fifteen percent held or delayed a DMT dose for vaccination. MS symptoms worsened in a minority (7.6% first/only dose; 14.7% second dose), and most side effects were mild (80.0%; 55.3%). Those not planning to receive the vaccine were primarily concerned with long-term safety (70.4%). Medical comorbidities (adjusted odds ratio [aOR]=5.222; p=0.04) and following infection prevention precautions (aOR=6.330; p=0.008) were associated with vaccine willingness. Conclusion: Most individuals with MS surveyed plan to receive the COVID-19 vaccine. People with MS experience similar side effects to the general population, and few experience transient MS symptom worsening. These results can inform conversations on vaccination between providers and people with MS.

Original languageEnglish (US)
JournalMultiple Sclerosis Journal - Experimental, Translational and Clinical
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 2022


  • COVID-19
  • Multiple sclerosis
  • vaccine

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Clinical Neurology
  • Cellular and Molecular Neuroscience


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