Many people with multiple sclerosis have misconceptions about vaccinations

Vaccine uptake has been found to be reduced in the multiple sclerosis (MS) patient population, with misconceptions about vaccine safety. These cross-sectional study results have been published in Neurology Clinical Practice.

The researchers invited members of the North American Research Committee on MS Registry, a self-reported patient group, to participate in this study. In spring 2020, participants answered questions about demographics and opinions on vaccinations.

Of the 10,210 people contacted, 62.5% replied (N = 6385). Those who decided to participate were more likely to be whites (86.7% and 82.6%; P <0.001), women (80.9% and 78.7%; P = 0.009), older (62 and 59 years of age, respectively), and were more likely to have a higher level of post-secondary education (72.7% vs. 68.9%; P <0.001).

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A total of 5244 responders met the inclusion criteria. This study population had a mean age of 61.8 (standard deviation [SD], 10.1) years, 80.8% were women and 87.4% were white.

Participants said they had been vaccinated against tetanus (88.5%), this season’s flu (74.1%), measles, mumps, rubella (74.1%), pneumonia (61.2%), varicella (42.1%), herpes zoster (41.2%) and hepatitis B (32.3%) and A (22.0%).

Vaccination during the last flu season was more likely in patients who earned more than $ 100,000 annually (odds ratio [OR], 1.44; 95% CI 1.16-1.79, any disease-modifying therapy applied (OR 1.41; 95% CI 1.23-1.63), post-secondary education (OR 1.26; 95% CI 1.08-1.47), alcohol consumption 2 to 4 times per month (OR 1.26; 95% CI 1.02 to 1.56) and had an active lifestyle (OR 1.22; 95% CI 1, 05 to 1.42).

Fewer people who smoked (OR 0.60; 95% CI 0.47-0.77) or were younger (age 18-34 years: OR 0.29; 95% CI 0.14-0.60) received the flu vaccine ; 35-49 years: OR, 0.35; 95% CI 0.27-0.45; 50-64 years: OR 0.57; 95% CI 0.49-0.66.

Common reasons for not vaccinating against influenza this season (n = 1303) were personal preferences (30.0%; z.) Because the doctor advised against vaccination (12.1%) or contextual factors (9.2%; e.g. too busy, was not offered).

Perceptions of who was responsible for deciding which vaccines to receive varied. Although most felt that they were responsible (66.9%), 57.9% also thought their family doctor and 41.2% thought that their neurologists were at least partially responsible for their vaccination status.

The participants stated that they had herpes zoster (n = 362), influenza nasal mist vaccination (n = 287), others (273), influenza vaccination (n = 132), pneumonia (n = 76), varicella (n =.) avoid 48), measles, mumps, rubella (n = 39), hepatitis (n = 24) and tetanus (n = 14).

This study may have been limited by the statistical differences between responders and non-responders.

These data indicated that vaccine uptake was not optimal in the MS patient population with relatively high levels of circulating misinformation. Clinicians should be aware of these trends and prioritize adequate and accurate education of their patients.

Disclosure: Several authors stated links to the pharmaceutical industry. For a full list of the details, see the original article.


Marrie RA, Kosowan L, Cutter GR, Fox R, Salter A. Admission and attitudes to vaccination in people with multiple sclerosis. NeuroClin practice. Published online April 22, 2021. doi: 10.1212 / CPJ.0000000000001099

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