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National MS Society: No Masks or Proof of Vax? Staying Safe in the Next Normal if You’re Living With MS

The National Multiple Sclerosis Society recently featured Nancy L. Sicotte, MD, chair of the Department of Neurology at Cedars-Sinai, in its "Real Talk MS" series discussing how multiple sclerosis (MS) patients can navigate the "next normal" as COVID-19 becomes endemic.

Sicotte recommended that patients living with MS get fully vaccinated even though certain therapies they're taking might limit the number of neutralizing antibodies their bodies can make, thus preventing a robust immune response. But Sicotte said the vaccine can still trigger T-cells, another important part of the immune system.

"That's the second line of defense," Sicotte told "Real Talk MS" host John Strum. "Those are the responses that keep you from getting very ill if you do happen to get infected with the virus. So even though these disease-modifying therapies can decrease some of the responses, we still very much recommend that anyone living with MS on these drugs get vaccinated as well."

Sicotte also reminded listeners about another tool they can use to protect themselves, a therapy called Evusheld. "It's two different kinds of monoclonal antibody, and …you take this to prevent an infection with COVID," said Sicotte, who is a professor of Neurology and the Women's Guild Distinguished Chair in Neurology. She told Strum that listeners should speak with their neurologist about getting these injections if they are taking medications that decrease their response to the COVID-19 vaccine and they've been fully vaccinated.

As COVID-19 becomes endemic, "we still really are living in a pandemic," Sicotte said, pointing out that the virus that causes COVID-19 is still very active around the world. She hoped that we're moving toward a time when the virus becomes something we can live with and manage.

"We're all struggling to see what the future is going to look like and how we’re going to cope with it," Sicotte told Strum. "I guess the theme has been, it's never what we expected, and so we have to remain resilient and flexible."

Click here to listen to the complete interview.