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S3 Episode 32

Episode 32: 2020 – What Just Happened? And What to Expect in 2021

2020 was a rough year, or perhaps that’s just the understatement of the century (and this has been a pretty eventful century, so that’s saying a lot.) I am sure many of us are breathing a sigh of relief in the early days of 2021, especially with Covid-19 vaccine rollouts gaining steam and life in some places starting to resemble a shade of normal, or at least offering the realistic hope of that soon. Many of us, though, are still struggling for perspective on the surreal year we just left behind, and even more of us are eager to understand what 2021 might bring.  

To offer us some much needed guidance and perspective, and to kick off the third season of the Living Well with MS podcast, we are pleased to welcome back one of our absolute favorite guests, and one of our favorite people in general, Dr. Jonathan White. Dr. White will help us understand how Covid-19 has impacted people with MS and the challenges that still remain, vaccine rollout notwithstanding. He’ll also provide us with some useful understanding of the implications of the vaccine for people with MS, and what we can all do to maintain our health and emotional stability until it’s our time in the vaccination queue.  


We hope this episode provides you with a useful roadmap to navigating the early days of a hopeful 2021, and that you continue to tune in to more episodes of Living Well with MS, our Coffee Break series a brand new limited series call Ask Jack, launching in March 2021, and featuring professional holistic chef Jack McNulty answering food-related questions generated by you, our community. Stay tuned and watch this space as well as the OMS website and social channels for more updates. 

Questions covered:

  • I’d like to start by simply asking what just happened in reference to 2020? Can you put it all in context from a personal health and wellness perspective? 

  • What’s your take on the main ways Covid 19 has impacted the community of people with MS? 

  • There have been some pronounced fumbles in the way the pandemic was managed in the UK and US; do you think these nations and others in the same leaky Covid boat have righted the ship, and if so, how? 

  • What’s your take on positive changes 2021 will bring in terms of eradicating Covid 19? I guess we can start with the vaccines. 

  • Are there any implications for people with MS getting vaccinated? Any known or associated risks?  

  • What’s the difference between the main approved vaccines? Do you recommend people with MS try to get one over another? 

  • From an OMS program perspective, what would you suggest people with MS can do to stay healthy while awaiting vaccination? 

  • Are you concerned that the prolific focus of the medical community on developing a Covid vaccine has caused a radical shift in scientific research priorities, slowing progress on MS research? 

  • Are there any positive by products in terms of MS research that have come from Covid 19-related efforts? Any findings that may point the way to progress on treating MS? 

  • Are you concerned about a Covid-21 or Covid-22 in terms of virus mutations or new strains that may outpace the effectiveness of the vaccine? 

  • What are you most hopeful about for 2021, personally and professionally? 


Dr. Jonathan White, a practicing medical doctor in Belfast, Northern Ireland, also works with Overcoming MS as a medical consultant and event facilitator. You can learn more about Dr. White’s professional background here.  


Vaccine views on this podcast episode reflect current consensus among medical professionals but we always recommend consulting your own team about your medical care, including vaccines. OMS is committed to bringing you up to date advice on our website on this topic if such advice is updated.  Please refrain from making any defamatory remarks if posting about this on our or other social channels, and please keep responses to comments on content.  Information on this topic was up to date at time of recording on February 1, 2021. 

Useful links:

Association of British Neurologists Guidance on Vaccination for COVID-19 and Neurological Conditions

COVID-19 Vaccine Guidance for People Living with MS – National MS Society

MS and the COVID-19 vaccines – MS Society

Coming up next:

Our popular Coffee Break series returns on Monday February 22, when we travel to Western Massachusetts to chat with Luke Johnson. Tune in to learn more about the lives and experiences of your fellow OMS community members. Our next Living Well with MS episode will launch March 10, when we get the View from with their head of communications, Mark Webb