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MS and coronavirus care and support

We’ve been talking to people across the UK about multiple sclerosis and COVID-19. These are some of the questions that crop up the most.

We’re working closely with our medical advisers and the Association of British Neurologists (ABN) to keep this page updated. So keep checking back for the latest information.

What's new?

We updated this page on Friday 12 August 2022 with an update about the COVID-19 drug Evusheld 

Follow these links for information

  1. MS and coronavirus (COVID-19) – what are the risks?
  2. Are people with MS in the clinically extremely vulnerable or “highest risk” group?
  3. What’s the latest COVID-19 guidance if I’ve got MS?
  4. I have MS, what should I do if I catch COVID-19 or someone I live with does?
  5. How can I get COVID-19 treatments like Paxlovid, sotrovimab, remdesivir or molnupiravir?
  6. Can people with MS get Evusheld to stop COVID-19?
  7. Can I still get hospital appointments, MS healthcare and social care during coronavirus restrictions?
  8. What research is happening into MS and COVID-19?
  9. What should I do if I can't wear a face mask?
  10. What's the latest on the coronavirus vaccines?
  11. Can I get help with shopping and prescriptions?
  12. Are there benefits or financial support I can claim?
  13. What rights and support do I have at work?
  14. MS, carers and care at home
  15. How can I get emotional help?

1. MS and coronavirus (COVID-19) – what are the risks?

Early research indicates that having multiple sclerosis (MS) in itself doesn’t increase your risk of getting COVID-19. 

But some people with MS could be at greater risk of getting coronavirus, or of complications if they catch it. For example, that could be because of certain disease modifying therapies (DMTs), frailty or having long-term conditions besides MS. Researchers are continuing to monitor this.

Studies so far indicate that in general being on a DMT for MS doesn’t increase your risk of getting COVID-19 or having worse symptoms. But there are some specific cases where a DMT is likely to increase risk. 

You should follow your MS team's advice about treatments and any extra social distancing measures they recommend.  

Research presented in October 2021 also suggests that people with MS who do get COVID-19 could be more likely to experience 'long COVID'. 

Read advice from our medical advisers on calculating risk

Can COVID-19 cause an MS relapse?

We don’t have much evidence about the risk of COVID-19 in particular causing relapses. But we know infections (including viral infections) can increase the risk of relapses. You can read more on page 17 of our “Managing your relapses” booklet.

    Are people with MS in the "higher risk" or “vulnerable” group?

    Everyone with MS is technically in the "higher risk" group (or “vulnerable” group in Northern Ireland). This used to be called the "clinically vulnerable" group.

    The four UK governments have defined this group as being more vulnerable to COVID-19 than the average person, but not as much as people in the "highest risk" (or “clinically extremely vulnerable”) group. It's very similar to the group of people eligible for the free annual flu jab.

    Everyone with MS is technically in this group because MS can be associated with increased risks, depending on your symptoms, treatment or other factors. And the government's data doesn't hold that level of detail about each person.

    Sometimes there’s separate guidance for everyone in this group. At other times, the government advice is the same as for the population as whole.

    Read about government COVID-19 guidelines in your nation 

    2. Are people with MS in the “clinically extremely vulnerable” (CEV) or “highest risk” group?

    Some people with MS are considered "extremely clinically vulnerable" or in the "highest risk" group for COVID-19. This could be because of a particular treatment or the way your MS affects you. Or it could be a combination of things. 

    Earlier in the pandemic, you might have received a shielding letter saying you’re clinically extremely vulnerable. Shielding programmes are paused across the UK, and the shielding list in England isn’t used anymoreThe “highest risk list” won’t be used in Scotland after 31 May 2022. But it’s still important to bear in mind you have higher underlying risks from COVID-19.

    Your doctor should consider you to be clinically extremely vulnerable if you:

    • have significant difficulties with breathing or swallowing (for instance if you need artificial feeding)
    • have taken alemtuzumab (Lemtrada) within the last 4 weeks (or longer if specified by a clinician)
    • have had HSCT treatment in the last 12 months (speak to your MS team to understand at what point your risks will reduce)
    • have taken cladribine (Mavenclad), ocrelizumab (Ocrevus) or alemtuzumab (Lemtrada) within the last 6 months AND have 2 or more other risk factors listed below

    You might also be considered clinically extremely vulnerable by your consultant or GP if 2 or more of the main extra risk factors below describe your situation.  

    What else might put me at higher risk from COVID-19 if I have MS?

    Early research indicates that having multiple sclerosis (MS) in itself doesn’t increase your risk of getting COVID-19.

    But some people with MS could be at greater risk of getting coronavirus, or of complications if they catch it. There is also some evidence that vaccines may not have worked as well for some people with MS as for others.

    Making decisions around risk

    We need more evidence to know for sure. But based on what we know now our medical advisers have estimated the risks for people with MS in different situations.

    We hope this will help you make decisions about what situations you’re comfortable with.

    You should also consider the number of coronavirus cases in your local area. If these are significantly higher than the national average, it may be best to take extra precautions regardless of your risk level.

    Find out the number of coronavirus cases in your area on Gov.UK

    Main extra risk factors

    The main extra risk factors are:

    • you’re over 70
    • you have trouble with things like preparing meals and housework because of frailty
    • your frailty or MS symptoms mean you usually need an aid for walking, or you use a wheelchair (score 6.0 or higher on the Expanded Disability Status Scale)
    • you have another long-term health condition besides MS, especially obesity, high blood pressure (also called hypertension), or diabetes. See a fuller list of long-term conditions that also apply on the US National Library of Medicine website
    • you're pregnant
    • you’ve had a course of alemtuzumab (Lemtrada) or cladribine (Mavenclad) in the last 6 months
    • you’ve had a course of ocrelizumab (Ocrevus) or rituximab in the last 12 months

    Your MS team will be more familiar with your personal circumstances. So if they tell you to take precautions for any other reason it's very important you follow their advice.

    How does my risk change if I’ve been vaccinated? 

    Vaccination reduces the risks from COVID-19 for people with MS and is generally very safe. Booster jabs can help keep up the protection that vaccines give against COVID-19.

    However, some DMTs might reduce the effectiveness of any vaccine because they prevent the immune system from mounting a complete immune response to the vaccine.

    3 categories of vaccine protection

    Evidence around how effective vaccines are for different groups of people with MS is still emerging. Based on what we know right now, we think there are three categories of vaccine protection: 

    Vaccine category A

    You are fully vaccinated (you've had all primary doses, at least 2 weeks ago, and a booster if that's due) and you're treated with

    • glatiramer acetate (Copaxone and Brabio)
    • teriflunomide (Aubagio)
    • dimethyl fumarate (Tecfidera)
    • beta interferons
    • natalizumab (Tysabri)
    • cladribine (Mavenclad)
    • alemtuzumab (Lemtrada) more than 12 months ago
    • no treatment (not on a DMT)

    People in this category with 0 - 1 extra risk factors are at similar level of risk as everyone else in the UK. If you have 2 or more extra risk factors, you’re at increased risk so should be extra careful to follow precautions.

    Vaccine category B

    You are fully vaccinated (you've had all primary doses, at least 2 weeks ago, and a booster when that's due) and around the time you were vaccinated you were treated with 

    • ocrelizumab (Ocrevus)
    • alemtuzumab (Lemtrada) less than 12 months ago
    • ofatumumab (Kesimpta)
    • rituximab
    • fingolimod (Gilenya)
    • ozanimod (Zeposia)
    • siponimod (Mayzent)

    If this is you, even if you have 0 extra risk factors you are at increased risk, so should be extra careful. 

    If you have 1 or 2 extra risk factors, you’re at higher increased risk, so should be even more careful to follow precautions.

    Read more about these DMTs and COVID-19 vaccines

    Vaccine category C

    You are partially vaccinated (you haven't had all your primary doses or you had the final one within the last two weeks), or you're not vaccinated.

    Until you’ve had all your primary doses of the vaccine and a booster, you're at higher increased risk than anyone who's fully vaccinated. So you should take full precautions. We know some people can’t have the vaccine for medical reasons. Unfortunately this does mean higher increased risk (unless you are in the very specific situation explained in the next section).

    Generally we expect the vaccine will give at least some protection from COVID-19 for everyone with MS, so we encourage people to get it if possible, though we know it comes down to personal choice. 

    I have MS, but no recent relapses or symptoms

    If you have MS, but you

    • have no other risk factors
    • are not taking a DMT 

    Your risk is similar to everyone else in the UK’s. This means if you have been vaccinated your risk is similar to another vaccinated person. And if you haven’t your risk is similar to another unvaccinated person.

    As with everyone, getting vaccinated reduces risks from COVID-19 both for you and those around you.

    Precautions for people who have increased or higher increased risk

    People who have increased or higher increased risk could consider additional precautions like: 

    • wherever possible requesting to work from home, if this is not possible asking your employer to conduct a COVID-19 risk assessment in light of your higher risks
    • avoiding crowded places, especially indoors (for example shops or public transport at peak times)
    • if possible asking friends and family to undertake home COVID tests before social gatherings
    • more generally following the advice for people at higher risk set out by your government and the NHS, or their advice for immunosuppressed people if that applies to you

    3. What’s the latest COVID-19 guidance if I've got MS?

    The latest COVID-19 guidance for people with MS, family and friends, depends on where you live. Each nation has its own guidelines. General guidance everywhere includes: 

    • get vaccinated
    • wash your hands regularly
    • keep indoor meeting spaces well ventilated
    • use a face covering in busy places if you can
    • stay away from others if you have symptoms of possible COVID-19 or a positive test

    If you’re worried about people not social distancing, you might want to carry a card, lanyard or badge that encourages other people to keep their distance.

    We've summarised the changes in COVID-19 guidance for your nation:

    England

    COVID-19 guidance for England changed on 1 April 2022. Current guidance includes: 

    If you have COVID-19 symptoms 

    If you have a high temperature or feel unwell with symptoms like a cough, sneezing, runny nose, muscle aches or headache, you should avoid contact with others. You should do this until you feel well or your temperature has gone down. Read the new NHS list of symptoms to look out for

    If you test positive for COVID-19 you should try to avoid contact with others for 5 days.

    COVID-19 tests

    Free COVID-19 tests have ended for most people, so they’ll need to buy them, for example from high-street chemists. 

    But free tests are still available for people with MS. That's because everyone with MS is eligible for early COVID treatment assessment.

    So you can be assessed for treatment quickly, you should be sent lateral flow tests to keep at home in case you have symptoms. If you haven’t received them by 11 April or you run out, you can order COVID-19 tests from the government website.

    COVID-19 and work

    Employers don't have to explicitly consider COVID-19 in their risk assessments any more. But if you’ve got MS you’re still covered by employment, health and safety, and equality law to keep you safe at work.

    If you're in the "highest risk" group (clinically extremely vulnerable)

    If you're in the "highest risk" group (clinically extremely vulnerable), there's no longer any particular government guidance. They advise following the guidance for the population as a whole. Read more about working out your own risk based on information from our medical advisers. 

    If you're eligible for a “third primary dose” of the COVID-19 vaccine  

    If you're eligible for a “third primary dose “ of the COVID vaccine (for example because of certain MS treatments), there is some extra government guidance.

    Read the UK government guidance for people who are immunosuppressed

     
    Social distancing

    Social distancing rules have been relaxed. We’re all comfortable with different levels of risk. If you’re worried about people not social distancing, you might want to carry a "Give me space" card. It's a card, lanyard or badge that encourages other people to keep their distance.

    The NHS has information if you’re worried about coming out of lockdown. And you can call our MS Helpline if you’d like to talk to someone: 0808 800 8000 

    Read the full government COVID-19 guidance for England

    COVID-19 guidance in Scotland

    In late March 2022, the Scottish Government updated their plans for COVID testing, guidance and support for self-isolation. Changes have come in through April and May.

    Until the end of April

    • Free lateral flow tests are no longer available for most people, if they don’t have COVID symptoms. But everyone with MS can still get them, as well as unpaid carers
    • Anyone can still get tested if they have symptoms at PCR test sites and with PCR tests by post
    • Apart from health and social care settings, there’s no longer routine testing at workplaces. It’s also stopped in schools, nurseries and universities
    • Support is still available for people advised to self-isolate
    • Anyone visiting a care home will be asked to do a lateral flow test in advance
    • It’s still guidance to wear a mask in all settings

    From the end of April

    • If you've got MS, free tests will still be available if you get symptoms. Tests through the post will be available for everyone who's eligible for early COVID-19 treatment assessments. So that includes everyone with MS
    • Most people won't be advised to test if they have symptoms. The guidance will be to stay at home if unwell. Test sites will close
    • Contact tracing, isolation and support payments will end
    • There will be free testing available for some health and social care settings, and through schemes to monitor the virus and control outbreaks
    • Anyone visiting a care home will be asked to do a lateral flow test in advance 

      Employers and workplaces

      The government encourages more working from home than before the pandemic, where it's possible and appropriate. That can include "hybrid working" - some time spent at home and some at the workplace.

      Employers still have to make workplaces safe and to conduct risk assessments. And they emphasise this is particularly important for those at higher risk. Guidance for employers and employees has been updated by the Scottish government, to help minimise risks

      If you're considered "highest risk"

      The “highest risk list” (shielding list) won’t be used after 31 May 2022. The government says that’s because vaccines and treatments mean the risks to most people on that list are now no greater than for everyone else. 

      The Chief Medical Officer will write to everyone on the highest risk list about the change, and signpost to ongoing support.

      The Scottish Government acknowledges that there are some people from that list who are still at greater risk. For example, that could be you if you take certain DMTs and were eligible for a “third primary dose” of the COVID vaccine. There’s government guidance for anyone considered immunosuppressed like this.  

      Read the Scottish Government COVID-19 guidance for people who are immunosuppressed 

      The “highest risk list” isn’t used to identify people for priority vaccines or for early COVID-19 treatments. So the end of the list doesn’t change how you get COVID vaccines and COVID treatments

      We’re all comfortable with different levels of risk. The chance to be close to friends and family might be wonderful news to you, but if you’re worried about people not social distancing, you might want to carry a card, lanyard or badge that encourages other people to keep their distance. Call our MS Helpline if you’d like to talk to someone: 0808 800 8000 

      Read the current COVID-19 guidance in Scotland

      Read the Scottish Government's February 2022 Strategic Framework for COVID-19

      COVID-19 guidance in Northern Ireland

      Since Tuesday 15 February 2022, COVID-19 restrictions in Northern Ireland have all been guidance rather than law. 

      The health minister has emphasised that people should still follow the guidance in Northern Ireland. In particular, he's stressed that everyone should do what they can to help protect those still vulnerable.

      In the coming months there will also be changes to the guidance for testing. The Executive will keep these changes under review until June.  

      From 22 April

      • Only people with a "clinical reason" who have COVID symptoms will be able to get PCR tests - a clinical reason includes people with MS, because everyone with MS is eligible for early COVID treatment assessment
      • Other people will be advised to use lateral flow tests if they have symptoms
      • Routine lateral flow testing for people without symptoms will stop - so there won't be free lateral flow tests for this 
      • Routine testing in most schools will stop at the Easter break
      • There'll still be routine lateral flow testing for people with no COVID symptoms for care homes, and in other health and social care settings
      • Most contact tracing will stop happening between mid-April and the end of June, though some test and trace will continue

      Venues including nightclubs and restaurants

      The Executive still strongly encourages venues to ask for COVID-19 passes, though they don’t have to. You can get a COVID-19 pass in Northern Ireland from the HSCNI website  

      Work 

      The guidance is still for everyone to work from home if possible. 

      Read more about your rights and support at work since COVID-19

      Face coverings

      People should still wear face coverings in all public places – that includes shops, cinemas, buses, trains and taxis.

      General guidance

      The Executive has guidance on social distancing and other measures to help control the risks in different settings. This includes: 

      • The closer you are to others, the higher the risk, so the risk is higher at 1 metre than at 2 metres away from someone 
      • The level of risk increases if there are no other measures taken, like hand washing, face coverings and protective screens, or good ventilation 
      • Outdoors is lower risk than indoors 
      • The highest risk is in an indoor, crowded, poorly-ventilated space for a long period of time

      The Northern Ireland Executive recommends everyone who's "vulnerable" is especially careful about wearing a face covering, social distancing, limiting household contacts, and hand hygiene. "Vulnerable" includes everyone with MS (this is not the same as "clinically extremely vulnerable"). 

      There's guidance from the Northern Ireland Chief Medical Officer for anyone considered clinically extremely vulnerable. This includes advice on returning to the workplace if home working isn’t possible 

      The MS Society Resource Centre in Belfast has started up one-to-one and some group services again. We’re also still running online activities. You can get in touch by email and phone as usual. You can also keep up to date with our activities on the MS Society Northern Ireland Facebook page.

      Read the current Northern Ireland Public Health Agency social distancing guidelines

      COVID-19 guidance in Wales

      The Welsh Government plans to remove any remaining legal restrictions on 28 March. On 21 March, they reviewed the plan and confirmed the changes.

      As part of the Welsh Government's long-term COVID plan there will be further changes in June.

      Changes are set to include

      From 28 March:

      • Most people with symptoms will no longer be able to get PCR tests. Testing will still be available for anyone eligible for early COVID-19 treatment assessments - that includes everyone with MS
      • Around this time, routine testing at most schools and workplaces will end
      • Testing will still be available for social and health care staff

      From June: 

      • Lateral flow tests will stop for most people who have symptoms. Testing will still be available for anyone eligible for early COVID-19 treatment assessments - that includes everyone with MS
      • PCR tests will still be available for social and health care staff with symptoms, care home residents and people in hospital
      • Contract tracing and self-isolation support payments will end

      COVID-19 and work

      Since 28 January working from home "remains important", but it isn't a legal requirement any more. Businesses, employers and other organisations have to do a specific coronavirus risk assessment and take reasonable measures to minimise the spread of coronavirus

      Welsh Government long-term guidance for COVID-19

      As part of the long-term plan for living with COVID-19, government advice will still include: 

      • Stay up to date with your COVID-19 vaccinations
      • Stay at home if when you're ill, if you can. And wear a face covering indoors if you have to leave your home
      • Meet outdoors where possible
      • Keep indoors well ventilated if you meet people
      • Take extra precautions if you visit vulnerable people. And avoid meeting them if you can when you've got cold or flu-like symptoms
      • Wear face coverings in close contact areas

      If you're clinically extremely vulnerable

      If you’re clinically extremely vulnerable, you should have had a letter from the Chief Medical Officer for Wales. This includes extra precautions you might want to take, and support that’s available. You can also find further guidance if you're clinically extremely vulnerable on the Welsh government website.  

      Read the latest Welsh government COVID-19 guidelines 

      4. I have MS, what should I do if catch COVID-19 or someone I live with does?

      Government guidance if someone catches COVID-19 varies across the UK. 

        In England and Scotland

        In England and Scotland, most people are not usually advised to get a test anymore. But free tests are still available for everyone with MS. And if you have MS, you should test as soon as possible so you can get your early COVID-19 treatment assessment.

        If anyone has COVID-like symptoms, they should try to avoid contact with others, except for essential care. The NHS list of COVID-like symptoms to watch out for has got bigger. It aims to help prevent the spread of other respiratory infections, like seasonal flu, as well as coronavirus.

        Guidance for both nations includes specific advice for people at higher risk from COVID-19.

        Read the UK government guidance for people with COVID-like symptoms in England

        Read the NHS Inform guidance for people with possible COVID-19 in Scotland

        In Northern Ireland and Wales

        In Northern Ireland and Wales, everyone is still advised to test if they have COVID-like symptoms. Free tests are still available. If you've got MS, you should test as soon as possible so you can get your early COVID-19 treatment assessment. Each nation has its own guidance for isolating. 

        Read the government guidance for people with COVID-19 and their contacts in Wales

        Read the government rules on COVID self-isolating in Northern Ireland

        Support if you're told to self-isolate

        If you’re told to self-isolate because you test positive for COVID-19 you might be able to get financial support to help cover lost earnings. But this is no longer available in England.  

        In all UK nations there's some support available to help with shopping or prescriptions.

        If you take a DMT and get COVID-19

        With most DMTs, you can usually carry on taking them if you have mild COVID-19 symptoms. Don't stop taking a DMT without medical advice. Read more about DMTs if you get COVID-19

          5. How can I get COVID-19 treatments like Paxlovid, sotrovimab, remdesivir or molnupiravir?

          If you've got MS and you get COVID-like symptoms and a positive test result, you could get one of the new COVID-19 treatments, including Paxlovid, sotrovimab, remdesivir or molnupiravir.

          A local NHS team called the COVID Medicines Delivery Unit (CMDU) will discuss the options with you if you register a positive test.

          Unless there’s a specific medical reason, everyone with MS aged 12 or more can discuss these treatments with the CDMU team, not only those considered “clinically extremely vulnerable”.

          Get a COVID-19 test if you have COVID-like symptoms

          If you have COVID-like symptoms, get a test as soon as possible so you can discuss treatment options if it's positive. You can discuss and start treatment after you register a lateral flow test or a PCR test. 

          You should use a free test, not one you’ve bought from, for example, a high-street chemist. That’s because the ones for sale can’t be registered on the government website.

          With a lateral flow test or a PCR test, you have to register it to report the result. You can register a COVID-19 lateral flow test on the government website. You can also register a PCR test on the government website. For either test you can also register it by calling 119. There's an instruction leaflet in the test boxes.

          If you haven’t got a free test at home ready to use, contact 119 to ask for one. Let the operator know you’d be eligible for a COVID-19 treatment assessment if you get a positive result.

          In Scotland, you can order a priority PCR test online. NHS Inform says because MS is on the list for COVID-19 treatments you should say "yes" when asked if the test is for an essential worker.

          If you’re waiting for your PCR result

          In England, Scotland and Northern Ireland, if you use a PCR test and don't get the result after 48 hours, call 119 and let them know you’re eligible for a COVID-19 treatment assessment if it’s positive. In Wales, call 111.  

          If your COVID-19 test is positive

          If your COVID-19 test result is positive, most people should hear from the NHS in England, Northern Ireland or Wales within 24 hours to discuss your treatment options. If you haven't heard by then, call your GP (111 out of hours), or your neurologist, who can refer you to the COVID treatment team. Don't forget that you need to register the result if it's a lateral flow test. 

          Some people in England will get a letter from their consultant saying they need to call their GP, 111 or consultant when they get a positive result – they won’t be contacted automatically. For example, you might get that letter if you’ve been recently diagnosed with MS. 

          In Scotland, if you get a positive test result, find your local health board's COVID team and call them to arrange an assessment. 

          If your COVID-19 test is negative

          If your test result is negative but you’ve still got COVID-19 symptoms, you need to do two more lateral flow tests.

          You should do these one a day. So if your first was today, do the second tomorrow and the third the day after.

          Register any positive test so you can get a COVID treatment assessment. 

          Taking the treatments 

          Some of the treatments are taken as tablets. So someone can collect them for you or you can have them delivered to your home.

          Others are given as an infusion at a clinic. When the NHS contact you to discuss your treatment option, they should also discuss how you can get safely to and from the clinic. 

          COVID-19 tests to keep at home

          In England, if you've got MS, you might have received a priority PCR test to keep at home in case you notice symptoms. And more recently you should have received free lateral flow tests. If you haven’t had tests to keep at home by 11 April, or you run out, you can order free COVID-19 tests from the UK government website.

          In Wales and Scotland, if you’ve got MS you can order free COVID-19 tests from the UK government

          In Northern Ireland, everyone can still order free COVID-19 tests from the UK government.

          Free tests from the government are the ones you should use. They can be registered on the government website so you can get a COVID-19 treatment assessment.

          If you think you’ve been missed off the COVID treatments list

          If you think you've been missed off the list of people who are eligible for COVID-19 treatments, you can call your GP (111 out of hours) or neurologist to discuss it. 

          Being on the list in England, Wales or Northern Ireland should mean you get contacted automatically about treatments if you have a registered positive result. 

          If you want to speak to someone about any of this, you can get in touch with our MS Helpline on 0808 800 8000.

          Find out more about COVID-19 treatments

          6. Can people with MS get Evusheld to stop COVID-19? 

          Evusheld is unlikely to be available to anyone until spring or summer 2023. Evusheld can prevent COVID-19 symptoms and was licensed in March 2022. But at the moment it’s not available on the NHS. And as far as we’re aware it’s not available privately in the UK. 

          We don’t yet know who – if anyone – will be eligible on the NHS. But it’s unlikely to be available for everyone with MS.

          Why isn’t Evusheld available yet?

          The UK Government announced to the BBC on 12 August 2022 that it won’t make Evusheld available until there’s been a decision by NICE. That’s the organisation that decides what treatments are available on the NHS. They look at the cost of a treatment and how effective it is. That process is likely to take until 2023.

          With other treatments for COVID-19 the government has made decisions without a full NICE process. We’ll keep asking the government for a speedier decision on Evusheld.

          Read about our response to this UK Government decision on Evusheld

          Is Evusheld licensed for people with MS?

          The UK regulators have licensed Evusheld for adults who are unlikely to develop a good immune response from COVID vaccines. This could include you if you have MS and take certain DMTs (you might have been advised to have a "third primary dose" of the vaccine).

          What if I can’t get Evusheld?

          Most people with MS can get good protection from the COVID vaccines. And if you’re due a vaccine dose, you should get that rather than delaying in the hope of having Evusheld.

          If you have questions about the timing of your vaccine, your MS team should be able to help.

          We know that some people with MS might not get such good protection from a vaccine, which is why we’re calling on the UK government to make a decision on Evusheld quickly.

          Does Evusheld work?

          Research showed it reduces the risk of getting COVID symptoms. And no one who took Evusheld in the study got seriously ill from COVID. That research involved mostly people at higher risk from COVID-19. 

          The study was before the Omicron variant. So it’s not clear how that might affect how well it works, or if it would change how it’s used.

          How do you take Evusheld?

          Evusheld is taken as two injections into the muscle. You'd take it when you don't have a recent COVID-19 infection, to prevent it from developing. Injections would probably happen every 6 months. But the length of protection and how often it’s needed might change depending on the COVID-19 variant.

          Read the latest UK Government announcement about Evusheld 

          7. Can I still get hospital appointments, MS healthcare and social care during coronavirus restrictions?

          You should contact your MS team as you normally would. Our medical advisers stress the importance of attending appointments with healthcare professionals, or seeking help if you feel seriously unwell.

          We know many MS services have been disrupted during the pandemic and this has resulted in long waiting times for some care. So it might be more difficult to get appointments for routine things like annual reviews. You're likely to be offered an appointment by phone or video call where it's not essential to be seen face to face.

          If you're worried about going to an appointment, the hospital or GP surgery can explain how they're managing COVID risks.

          Remember, always contact your team if:

          • you have signs of a relapse
          • you go to hospital for any reason (even if you’re not admitted)
          • you’re considering any changes to how you take your DMT

          Social care services and the Coronavirus Act

          The Coronavirus Act and Coronavirus (Scotland) Act could affect your social care services if you live in England, Wales or Scotland.

          Read our Coronavirus Act news story to find out how it applies across the UK

          DMT homecare delivery service

          If you have homecare services to deliver your DMT, generally these should carry on without a problem. If they are delayed or you have any difficulties contact your MS team immediately.

          8. What research is happening into MS and COVID-19?

          There’s lots of research happening to help us learn more about multiple sclerosis and coronavirus. But as this coronavirus is so new, we don’t fully understand how it affects people with MS yet. Help us understand more about how the pandemic is affecting our community by taking the MS Register survey on coronavirus and MS

          Find out what we’ve already learned from responses to the MS Register survey

          Read our blog about an early study on COVID-19 and MS in Italy

          9. What should I do if I can't wear a face mask? 

          If your MS or another condition means you can’t wear a face covering, or take it on or off, you don’t have to wear one.

          You don’t need to prove you’re exempt. But if you feel more comfortable letting people know, you can download a badge to print off or show on your phone from some national governments. 

          Get a free face mask exemption badge from the Scottish government Get a free face mask exemption badge from the Welsh government

          You’re not alone we can help

          Talk to someone on the phone

          We're here for you. If you’re worried about your MS and coronavirus and want to chat to someone, call our MS Helpline on 0808 800 8000. We’re here Monday to Friday, 9am to 7pm except bank holidays.

          Chat online

          If you'd like to talk your worries through online with other people who know MS, visit our Online Community Forum today.

          Or join one of our Virtual Wellbeing sessions and connect online with other people living with MS across the UK.

          Ask an MS health expert

          Or you could sign up for an information webinar. We've got plenty to choose from, take a look at our online sessions and see what suits you.

          Help prevent outdated information sharing

          We're constantly updating our information on coronavirus. So if you want to share it, please link to the page directly rather than quoting or summarising what we’ve said.

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          We also update when we know about important changes.

          Find out how we keep our information up-to-date