BACKGROUND: Viral infections may induce exacerbation of multiple sclerosis (MS), and attempts should be made to prevent them in MS patients by means of vaccines, but immunization is considered to possibly trigger autoimmune disease activity.
AIMS: We studied the safety and patient compliance of seasonal influenza and H1N1v influenza vaccines.
METHODS: Clinical data on 101 consecutive patients with MS who participated in the study conducted between December, 2009 and February, 2010 were retrieved from the patients’ charts. They all filled in a questionnaire on demographics, clinical symptoms and, when applicable, date of being vaccinated for seasonal influenza and/or H1N1v influenza.
RESULTS: Five of the 49 vaccinated patients reported side effects of fever or flu-like symptoms associated with the administration of either of the vaccines: there were no complications or need for hospitalization. No patient reported any new neurological symptoms following the use of either vaccine. It emerged that many MS patients did not receive at least one of the vaccines, and that a substantial number of physicians were unsure of how to advise on vaccinations.
CONCLUSIONS: Our results are intended to help reassure patients with MS and their physicians about the safety of seasonal influenza and H1N1v influenza vaccines.
“This study supports other larger studies showing that the inactivated (non-live) flu vaccine is safer in MS’ers.”