Myasthenia gravis is an auto-immune disease in which the body develops antibody against special recetors on voluntary muscles that are essential for muscles to contract. Theses antibodies block these receptors due to which the signals from our brain that tell the muscles to contract are blocked. This leads to muscle weakness.
Individuals suffering from Myasthenia Gravis may be at increased risk for severe COVID-19 illness because they may be taking medications that supresses the immune system making them vulnerable.
So patients with myasthenia gravis should take all precautions to protect themselves form Covid 19.
- Proper and frequent Hand Washing with soap and water for at least 20 seconds. If soap and water are not available, use hand sanitizer with at least 60% alcohol.
- Avoid close contact with people who are sick.
- Maintain Social Distancing – at least six feet between yourself and others.
- Please wear proper Mask when outside or around others.
- Avoid touching your eyes, mouth, and nose with unwashed hands.
- Avoid going out.
- Cover your mouth and nose when you sneeze or cough.
- Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces.
- Last But not the Least – GET VACCINATED
Myasthenia Gravis and Covid 19 Vaccine
Should I get Vaccinated if I am suffering from Myasthenia Gravis (MG) ?
Yes, most MG patients should get vaccinated because the risks associated with the COVID-19 vaccine will be relatively small compared to the risk of contracting the disease itself.
Which Vaccine should I take?
Any of the available vaccine that is Covishield or Covaxin can be taken by patients with myasthenia gravis. However, patients on immunosuppressive medications should avoid Live attenuated virus vaccine. Luckily none of the available vaccines in India are Live Attenuated.
Will the Vaccine be effective for patients with Myasthenia Gravis?
The answer is most probably yes. But one should remember that If you are taking immunosuppressant medication (like prednisone, azathioprine, mycophenolate mofetil, and others), you may NOT be fully protected even if you are fully vaccinated. Therefore, it is extremely important to continue protecting your self by taking all the precautions which include Masks, Social distancing and frequent handwashes. If you are only taking pyridostigmine bromide to treat MG your immune system is nit suppressed and the effectiveness of vaccine should not be affected.
I am on Monoclonal Antibody treatment, Should I take the Covid 19 Vaccine?
Patients taking monoclonal antibody therapy (such as rituximab) for myasthenia should consult with their treating doctor regarding the timing of COVID-19 vaccine so the vaccine is most effective. For rituximab, it’s suggested individuals get the first vaccine dose 6 weeks before rituximab treatment, and the second vaccine dose 4 weeks before another treatment.