COVID-19, should I or shouldn’t I?

I will get to the COVID vaccine in a moment. First, I need to vent, if you don’t mind.

The past two weeks have been very hard on me. My MS has been rearing its ugly head lately and it is really starting to get to me. It has not been the pain so much as it is getting around in general. I have had to use my cane more often, and I have even had to use my walker around the house. This is getting old very quickly. But, at least the last couple days my legs have felt better. But they have been feeling like lead and I just seem to have problems physically walking, in other words, actually being able to put one foot in front of the other. But, today has been better, thankfully. Here is hoping that tomorrow will be even better…

Now on to the COVID-19 debate that is raging right now…

It seems that all of the DMTs that are available at the moment have some affect on the immune system. At various places I visit online I see people debating whether or not to get the vaccine.

Before we go any farther, a little information is needed…  Past vaccines have used viruses, either alive or dead, depending which vaccine you are talking about. The idea behind these vaccines is when the body sees the vaccine it kicks the immune response in so the body essentially “learns” how to defeat the virus.

To quote the Centers for Disease Control:

COVID-19 mRNA vaccines give instructions for our cells to make a harmless piece of what is called the “spike protein.” The spike protein is found on the surface of the virus that causes COVID-19.

Once our body learns how to create this “spike protein” then it knows how to defend against the COVID-19 virus.

As I said before, it seems that all of the DMTs available have an effect on our immune system. I know that since I am on Tecfidera at the moment, even though I may lose that here shortly thanks to my insurance company, one thing they like to keep an eye on is my lymphocytes. Lymphocytes are one type of white blood cell that is responsible for keeping us healthy.

So, this is where the debate comes in. There have been no tests specifically for people with MS and any of the COVID-19 vaccines. Many people feel that with an already compromised immune system they do not want to take a chance on getting the vaccine and creating problems. Everyone with Multiple Sclerosis knows that we already have enough to deal with.

Personally, if / when I get the opportunity to get the vaccine, I will take it. This is a personal choice that I am making for myself. My feeling is that since there is no virus being introduced into my body that is a plus. The COVID-19 vaccine, the best and easiest way to understand that I have heard, is nothing more than a set of instructions for the body to fight the virus.

There is a fascinating explanation of everything on the CDC website. You can find it here if you would like to check it out for yourself.

There are two things that I really want to drive home for everyone. First of all, please continue to follow all CDC guidelines. That means keep wearing a mask, avoid large crowds whenever possible, and either wash your hands or use hand sanitizer frequently. If things go according to plan, then we should be getting this under control around the fall of this year if not earlier.

As I said before, this will be a personal choice on whether to get the vaccine or not. I have made the decision to get the vaccine when I get the opportunity. I am willing to be a guinea pig if you want to look at things that way. I look at it as I will have less of a chance of getting sick myself, but more than that, I do not take a risk on spreading it to others. But that is my personal take on everything.

So please, discuss the vaccine with your doctor(s). I have an appointment coming up with my primary care physician and an appointment with my neurologist. I will be discussing my options with both of them. I suggest that everyone do the same.

This is a personal decision that everyone will have to make based on many factors, including their living situation, their overall health, and many more factors.

That is all for now. So as always everyone have a wonderful, safe, pain-free day!


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