So there it is, our latest “final” advice based on (i) what we believe the evidence tells us and (ii) high-level decisions within our healthcare environment. We’ve also listened to our colleagues, in- and outside of BartsMS, and mind you there are people with strong views… Only joking!
The major change has been our Trust’s (Barts Health) change of mind in the light of the updated Green Book, chapter 14a, page 15, recommending that for people about to start immunotherapy, and those already on immunotherapy, the vaccination schedule should be adjusted for likely optimum immune response. In practice, this means that people who are considered at an excess risk of COVID-19 due to immunotherapy can now receive their 1st and 2nd dose of vaccination within a 3-4 weeks, the time window(s) mandatory for the mRNA vaccines by BioNTech/Pfizer and Moderna, and optional for the AstraZeneca/Oxford vaccine.
Whilst BartsMS are keen to foster & facilitate equity of access for pwMS to best care across the UK, and beyond, we are mindful that access to vaccination is imbalanced at this stage. Being at the fuzzy end of the lollipop on other occasions, we are fortunate at this stage that our Trust runs the NHS Covid-19 Vaccination centre, Newham, based at ExCeL (if you are local and keen, check for a volunteer opportunity here), giving our team access to vaccination slots for our pwMS, and with other neurological conditions, on immunotherapy. More than 200 pwMS have already been contacted and 150 or so vaccinated through this pathway so far – big shout out and credit to fabulous #Team11D.
Since many are asking on Twitter and here on the Blog what the vaccination in pwMS is like, we’re now also collecting information about their experience. So, if you are with our team, please fill it in and return to the team so we know what it was like for you and what we should try and improve.vaccination-experience-questionnaire_JM_KS
MD will shortly give you an update on what’s happening at the serology front – lots of teams are now hunting the same information, i.e. what is your B & T cell response to SARSCoV2 vaccination after treatment with B-cell depleters and other DMTs, so watch this space, and if you’re local email us on firstname.lastname@example.org to join our study.