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Original Article

IJMDC. 2023; 7(8): 1119-1126

Multiple sclerosis relapse after COVID-19 vaccination

Tahani J. Hefni, Nawal A. Asiri, Ahmad I. Bokhari, Ghada M. Alaboush, Abdulaziz W. Qashqari, Laila M. Almalki.


Objective: This study aimed to assess the effect of COVID-19 vaccines on multiple sclerosis (MS) patients and associated relapse.
Methods: A retrospective study was conducted among 202 MS patients at King Abdullah Medical Complex, Jeddah, Saudi Arabia. Through phone calls and messages, a questionnaire was used to collect data about patients’ demographics, clinical data, data about COVID-19 vaccination, and data about the appearance of MS relapse symptoms after vaccination.
Results: The mean age of patients was 35.11 ± 8.14 years, 79.3% were females and the mean duration since diagnosis was 7.42 ± 5.68 years. Only 7.9% and 2.5% of people were diagnosed with diabetes or vasculitis, respectively, and 89.1% were taking their MS medication. Around 199 (98.5%) received the COVID-19 vaccine, and 10.4% relapsed after receiving the COVID-19 vaccine. Patients who relapsed had a significantly shorter mean duration of taking MS medications and were hospitalized at a significant higher rate. There was no statistically significant relationship between relapse and patients’ demographics, clinical data, or vaccine type.
Conclusion: COVID-19 vaccination might cause relapses in some MS patients, but the benefits of vaccination far outweighed the risks. Multicenter studies are needed in the future to confirm the causal relationship.

Key words: Multiple, sclerosis, relapse, Covid-19, vaccination, Saudi

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