Does the Covid-19 vaccine increase relapse risk for MS?

The Pfizer-BioNTech Covid-19 vaccine does not increase the risk of relapses in people with multiple sclerosis (MS) in the two months post administration, a new study has found.

It has been established that the Pfizer vaccine and other comparable Covid vaccines are generally very safe and do reduce the risk of severe illness and death from the virus. But because the vaccines are designed to activate the immune system, there has been concern about safety risks for people who have over-active immune systems as seen in autoimmune conditions like MS.

Researchers in Italy looked at data for 324 people with MS who received Pfizer’s vaccine earlier in the year, and who were followed for at least two months afterwards. Six MS relapses were reported from the group in the two months prior to receiving the vaccination. In the two months following, a total of seven relapses were reported. “The incidence of relapses in the two months before and after vaccination was not statistically different,” the investigators wrote. For this reason, the researchers said these results support recommending Covid-19 vaccinations for people with MS.