How I Handled MS Treatment During Quarantine and Made Decisions About the Vaccine

Since 2019, I have been receiving a B-cell depleting infusion that suppresses my immune system. When the COVID-19 pandemic started, I was uncertain if my body could handle fighting such a powerful infection while on this medication. The upcoming infusion made me a bit apprehensive about further suppressing my immune system during these uncertain times. There was disagreement among experts about whether it was better to continue treatment or skip it. However, this question became irrelevant when the infusion center temporarily closed and my infusion was postponed by a few months.

During the waiting period, the National MS Society released an official statement regarding the COVID-19 vaccine and provided guidelines for individuals on disease-modifying treatments, like myself. According to the recommendation for people with MS on my specific medication, it was advised to get vaccinated at least 12 weeks after the last infusion and at least 4 weeks before the next one. As I belonged to an age group that didn't have immediate access to the vaccine, I had to wait before signing up for a shot. This gave me enough time to process the various information I had heard, seen, and read about the vaccine.

I must confess that I had doubts about the vaccine, considering the abundance of propaganda and misleading information circulating. Additionally, being a new development, I wasn't sure what to believe anymore. Nevertheless, I ultimately believed that vaccination was the only way to end the pandemic. I also sought guidance from my neurologist and listened to the experiences of other MSer friends who had already been vaccinated.

Finally, it was my turn to get vaccinated. I received my first shot and experienced a metallic taste in my mouth that disappeared quickly. I felt slightly dizzy right after the injection, but it subsided after having lunch. Later on, I had a very mild headache, which didn't require any medication. My arm felt slightly sore but it wasn't a major issue and resolved within 36 hours. I also experienced a sporadic burning sensation inside my nose. Three weeks later, I received my second shot and only experienced a mild sore arm as a symptom.

Overall, I believe I reacted well to the vaccine. None of my MS symptoms worsened during this time. I feel confident that I made the right decision to get vaccinated. It provided me with the peace of mind I needed and restored a sense of freedom. Additionally, as traveling is one of my biggest passions, I eagerly anticipate a return to normalcy and the ability to safely explore new places.

However, if you are unsure about getting vaccinated, I recommend consulting your neurologist first. It is also helpful to hear experiences from other individuals with MS who have received the vaccine. Ensure that you gather information from reliable sources such as the National MS Society's website or other reputable MS organizations. The NMSS has provided a comprehensive guide on how to time your vaccine based on the specific medication you take. If you would like to connect with others living with multiple sclerosis, consider joining our MS Facebook Support Group.