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Speaking up for the MS community

As the vaccine programme continues to roll out, teams across our organisation have been working incredibly hard to respond to our community’s need for information.

One in three calls to our free helpline are now COVID-19 related and we receive many questions from our community about vaccines. The top three questions we’re receiving on the helpline are:

  • When will I receive my vaccination and will my carer also receive it?

  • What is the best vaccine for MS?

  • How does the vaccine work with my DMT?

We’re updating our website constantly with information we have and in particular, our Helpline and Information teams continue to do an outstanding job providing support and the latest information to our community.

The UK MS Register – which is part funded by the MS Society – is asking people with MS how they’re feeling about the vaccine. To date, the majority (69%) of the 3,191 respondents to their survey said they would definitely have it. However, nearly three quarters (72%) said they would benefit from more advice/information.

If you have questions about COVID-19 vaccines, treatments and relapses, check out our website by clicking this link.

How we’ve been speaking up for our community

We’ve been working to get answers to the community’s questions about vaccines from all UK governments and other bodies. Here’s a few of the things we’ve been doing to speak up for the MS community on this issue:

  • Our comment on the news that more people are being added to vaccine priority group four this week was picked up by the BBC, and many other media outlets. We urged the Government to ensure they clearly communicate what this development means for people affected. Read more about it on our website here.

  • Our CEO recently chaired a meeting with the Minister for COVID Vaccine Deployment in England and other charity leaders. Nick Moberly urged the minister to improve communications with people with conditions like MS. And work more closely with charities so that we can answer our communities' burning questions.

  • Our Scotland Country Director, Morna Simpkins met with the Scottish Government vaccines and neurology teams. We learnt more about the next phase of the vaccine roll out and the Government agreed to work with us to monitor data on vaccination among people with MS.

Making progress

We were pleased that recently official advice changed, allowing a small cohort of people who would benefit from vaccination before medical treatment to be vaccinated earlier. The Green Book on vaccination is a paper produced by Public Health England and informs decisions about who is prioritised for COVID-19 vaccination.

The change allows people to be considered for vaccination before receiving treatment for a pre-existing condition that could significantly limit their immune system’s response to vaccines, making them extremely clinically vulnerable. We are hearing from many clinicians across the UK that they are now able to offer people on certain DMTs earlier vaccination as a result. For more information, see our medical advisors’ consensus statement on our website here.

Sign up to the MS Register

The MS Register continues to collect important data from people with MS on COVID-19 vaccines. It’s open to anyone who is living with MS in the UK and provides essential data to us and to MS researchers in the UK. You can sign up on the MS register website here.

If you have any questions or want more information about our work on vaccines, please contact the Research and External Affairs Team by emailing R&[email protected]