Berek et al.
Immunization status in patients with multiple sclerosis: A cross-sectional, monocenter study in Austria
Eur J Neurol. 2023;10.1111/ene.15748. doi: 10.1111/ene.15748

Multiple sclerosis (MS) is a chronic inflammatory demyelinating disease of the central nervous system. Administration of attenuated vaccines is contraindicated in MS patients receiving immunosuppressive agents. It is recommended to complete vaccinations 4–6 weeks before initiating disease-modifying therapies.

Representative data about the overall immunization status was lacking in the MS population. Therefore, a cross-sectional, monocenter study to examine the vaccination status against 17 different pathogens was carried out in a cohort of MS patients (424 in total, mean age 43±12 years, range 20–79 years) in Austria in 2020/2021. Patients were considered to have sufficient vaccination when fulfilling the recommendations of the Austrian Federal Ministry of Social Affairs, Health, Care and Consumer Protection.

Most MS patients were immunized against tetanus, diphtheria and poliomyelitis (90%), only a very low proportion was vaccinated to protect against pneumococcal disease (6%) and meningococcal disease (4%).

70% of the MS patients had received TBE vaccines, and this matched with the rate of serological examinations (IgG antibodies measured by ELISA). However, only 17% had timely vaccinations/boosters.

Overall, higher vaccination rates were associated with younger age and education level. Misinformation on infectious diseases and vaccines were associated with lower vaccination rates.

The majority of MS patients did not fulfill vaccination recommendations (including TBE) and efforts to increase vaccination rates should be promoted.

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