Multiple Sclerosis is thought to be an autoimmune disease, with symptoms typically starting when you are between 20 to 40 years old.
“MS symptoms are variable and unpredictable. No two people have exactly the same symptoms, and each person’s symptoms can change or fluctuate over time. One person might experience only one or two of the possible symptoms while another person experiences many more.”
National Multiple Sclerosis Society on MS Symptoms
From fatigue, weakness, and problems walking to vision problems, including the onset of blurred vision, MS can have many different symptoms.
What Causes Multiple Sclerosis?
Some people may be surprised that doctors have known about Multiple Sclerosis since the 1870s. They recognized people with the symptoms of MS even earlier.
Unfortunately, we still don’t know what causes it.
Can Vaccines Cause Multiple Sclerosis?
Without a known cause, it is easy to understand why some folks blame vaccines.
We see the same thing with many other conditions.
Remember though, just because you don’t know what causes something doesn’t mean that you can’t eliminate things that don’t cause it.
“Concern about hepatitis B vaccination arose from France in the mid 1990s. Following a mass hepatitis B vaccination program in France there were reports of MS developing in some patients a few weeks after receiving the vaccine. In 1998, the French government stopped the school-based hepatitis B component of the vaccination program while they investigated a possible relationship between hepatitis B vaccine and demyelinating disease. When studies of the French vaccine recipients were completed they showed that there was not a significant increase in the number of vaccinated people who developed MS as compared with those who had never received hepatitis B vaccine.”
Hepatitis B and multiple sclerosis FactSheet
And more than a few studies have shown that vaccines do not cause Multiple Sclerosis.
It has also been shown that vaccines don’t increase the risk of relapses for people who already have MS.
“…vaccines are able to prevent some infections in MS patients known to accelerate the progression of the disease and increase the risk of relapses.”
Mailand et al on Vaccines and multiple sclerosis: a systemic review
And yes, since new infections may trigger MS relapses, vaccines have an added benefit for MS patients.
And that’s why it is recommended that patients with MS follow the standard Centers for Disease Control immunization schedule. They may need to avoid getting live vaccines while taking specific MS medications though, as some of these can suppress their immune system.
“In the last few years a number of MS-focused vaccines have shown promising results in early phase clinical trials, and with each success the technology is closer than ever to offering a viable treatment option.”
Dr. Karen Lee on MS vaccines: Thinking outside the box for new treatments
While everyone hopefully now understands that any talk about MS being associated with vaccines is just another myth or scare tactic of the anti-vaccine movement, vaccines may one day really be associated with MS – therapeutic vaccines are in development that can treat people with Multiple Sclerosis!
What to Know About Vaccines and Multiple Sclerosis
Although it is still not known what does cause Multiple Sclerosis, we do know that it is not vaccines, which may actually reduce the risk of relapses for folks who already have MS.
More on Vaccines and Multiple Sclerosis
- About Multiple Sclerosis
- Multiple Sclerosis Information Page
- Do Vaccines Cause Multiple Sclerosis?
- What You Need to Know About Vaccine Safety
- CDC – Hepatitis B Vaccine and Multiple Sclerosis
- WHO – Hepatitis B vaccine and multiple sclerosis
- WHO – The Global Advisory Committee on Vaccine Safety rejects association between Hepatitis B vaccination and multiple sclerosis (MS)
- Review – Vaccines and multiple sclerosis: a systematic review.
- Study – Immunization and MS: a summary of published evidence and recommendations.
- Study – Vaccines and the risk of multiple sclerosis and other central nervous system demyelinating diseases.
- Study – Yellow fever vaccination and increased relapse rate in travelers with multiple sclerosis.
- Study – Is there a causal link between hepatitis B vaccination and multiple sclerosis?
- Study – Hepatitis B vaccination and French Society ten years after the suspension of the vaccination campaign: How should we raise infant immunization coverage rates?
- The History of MS
- Vaccinations and MS
- MS Symptoms
- Vaccines and Multiple Sclerosis
- Hepatitis B and multiple sclerosis FactSheet
- Misconceptions About Vaccines and MS
- HPV vaccine and multiple sclerosis: Reassuring findings about Gardasil safety
- HPV and HepB vaccines are not associated with multiple sclerosis
- Vaccines cause multiple sclerosis? No link found in a large scientific review
- MS vaccines: Thinking outside the box for new treatments