Help us speak up on COVID-19 testing

Wednesday 2 March 2022

We’re calling on the UK Government to continue free tests for people who're eligible for COVID-19 treatments. And to extend this to their households and personal contacts - regardless of whether they have symptoms.

What’s the government’s plan for living with COVID-19?

From 1 April, the UK Government is ending free COVID-19 tests, except for people at highest risk of severe illness. This means family members, friends and carers run the risk of exposing vulnerable people to infection, unless they can afford to pay for a test.

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What does this mean for people with MS?

There are 1.3 million people eligible for treatments like antivirals if they get COVID-19, including people with MS. This is because the government’s identified these people as at highest risk of severe illness.

Around 500,000 of these people are immunocompromised. This means it’s less likely they received the same amount of protection from COVID-19 vaccines. This group includes some people with MS on certain disease modifying therapies (DMTs).

We’ve produced information with our medical advisers estimating the relative risks for people with MS in different situations.

Read our information on MS and risk from COVID-19

Speaking up for people with MS

We're concerned the government is not fully considering the needs of people at higher-risk from COVID-19.

No one should be put at risk because they can’t afford a test. Protection from COVID-19 should be a right, not a privilege.

Together with Blood Cancer UK, Kidney Care UK and other charities we’re urgently calling on the government to:

  • continue giving free lateral flow tests to people who’re eligible for COVID-19 treatments. And to extend this to their households and personal contacts – regardless of whether they have symptoms.
  • provide new money to the NHS and local authorities to fund regular testing of frontline health and social care staff.

Phillip Anderson, our Head of Policy, says:

“Instead of ‘restoring freedom’, the current plan for living with COVID-19 may force people at higher risk back into isolation. If we’re to truly move forward and live with COVID, the government must make sure friends and family of people at higher risk can get free tests.

"It’s also vital to make sure there’s adequate testing for health and care staff many higher risk people rely on for essential care. If these professionals are infectious without realising, they could spread COVID-19 to the people who can’t afford to be exposed.”

Take action now

We won’t stop calling on the government to protect people at highest risk from COVID-19. But to do that, we need your help.

Email your MP now and ask them to join our call, and give our community the protection it needs.

Send an email to your MP