I had a phone conference with my MS specialist yesterday in New York City. We discussed many things but the most important thing she discussed was the Covid vaccination. She knows that I had already had received both vaccines and of course that I take Rituxan. Rituxan is the older sister drug to Ocrevus. It seems that for people on these drugs, the antibody production for SARS-CoV-2 was reduced compared to other multiple sclerosis drugs. In my doctor’s easier language, even with the vaccinations, they are not finding adequate antibodies produced to put you in that high percentage category of being safe. The B-cells depleting MS therapies are likely to produce neutralizing antibodies against the vaccine thus rendering them less effective.
Thankfully, COVID-19 infection is a virus fought with T-cells. Therefore patients on the depleting B-cell therapies are still fully able to fight any illness. However, this does mean that even being fully vaccinated, we are still at risk. Proper COVID precautions should still be followed regardless of the vaccination. My doctor did say they are looking into giving a 3rd dose to see if the antibody numbers pickup and remain. If that works, she will inform me. You can see some of the article here but I’m sure this will become more known soon. In the meantime stay safe.