Recently, there has been a lot of information in the media about different coronavirus vaccines.
Our community of people affected by a neurological condition, their friends, family and carers have already asked questions about the vaccine; we are here to help via the helpline, social media and peer support.
At a society level there is understandable relief at the development of vaccines, and the potential to bring the pandemic under control after a majority of the population has been vaccinated. However, at an individual level the picture is more nuanced. We wish to ensure that each person feels they have the power to ask what is best for their individual circumstances, depending on their health condition.
The decision about who gets the vaccine and when, will follow advice from the Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation (JCVI). You can read more about this here.
Am I eligible for a vaccination?
People with a neurological condition will be eligible for a COVID-19 vaccination. It is important to re-confirm your circumstances with your doctor, including any treatment you take. GPs and/or consultants can advise on an individual’s suitability, and what is the best time to have the vaccination done if this is best for you.
The Association of British Neurologists (ABN) has provided guidance on the vaccination for COVID-19 and neurological conditions. The ABN recommends you take up whichever vaccination you are offered without delay regardless of your age, state of health or medication that you're receiving, unless you have a specific reason such as a severe allergy. You can read and download the full guidance here.
Pregnant women, and those planning a pregnancy within 3 months, are not being advised to get the vaccine, because it has not been tested in pregnancy. It is also not currently planned to be given to under-16s, as the vaccines have not been tested in this age group.
We have received many questions in relation to Multiple Sclerosis (MS) and Transverse Myelitis (TM) and Covid-19 vaccines. The MS Trust has produced a video with a consultant neurologist discussing about the vaccines and MS.
The TM Society has a link to a video with Dr. Benjamin Greenberg who is an internationally recognized expert in treating adults and children with autoimmune disorders of the central nervous system.
We have also received many questions in relation to Subarachnoid haemorrhages (SAH). Stroke Association UK have confirmed that stroke survivors are in priority group 6 for the vaccine rollout. This includes both stroke and transient ischaemic attack (TIA or “mini stroke”) which means people who have had SAH are in priority group 6. You can find out more about stroke and the vaccine on the Stroke Association UK website.
We're here to help
Coronavirus is having a huge impact on people living with a neurological condition. The Brain & Spine Foundation is here to support people throughout their journey, even more during this time. If you would like to talk to one of our specialist nurses you can call the Brain and Spine Helpline number 0808 808 1000 Monday to Thursday 9.00am- 4.00pm.
If you would like to talk to people with similar problems, you may like to join Neuro Social - our online support groups. Find out more about Neuro Social here.