MS and Covid-19

Photo by Fusion Medical Animation on Unsplash

COVID-19 is a virus that can affect your lungs, airways and other organs. It is caused by a novel coronavirus (called SARS-CoV-2) that has spread around the world.

This page is updated as new information becomes available.

The information on these pages contain general advice. We cannot make individual medical recommendations. Please discuss any concerns with your medical team.

If after reading this info you have concerns, please discuss them with your medical team (Neurologist, MS Nurse GP, etc.), your Regional MS Society, or contact the Coronavirus Healthline team (for free) on 0800 358 5453 or +64 9 358 5453 for international callers.

Anyone who has cold or flu symptoms should get a test and stay home until you have a negative test result.

For Covid-19 health advice and information, contact the Healthline team (for free) on 0800 358 5453.

This page contains general advice. We cannot make individual medical recommendations.


Sources of Information

This page is updated as new information becomes available. All information is based on the emerging evidence of how COVID-19 affects people with multiple sclerosis (MS) and expert opinion.

We include advice collated from a number of reputable sources, including:


General Advice for people with MS and COVID-19

Read more about general advice for people with MS and COVID-19 here


Latest Advice on Vaccines for people with MS in New Zealand

Overview from the MS International Federation (

The science has shown us that the COVID-19 mRNA vaccines (Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna) are safe and effective. Like other medical decisions, the decision to get a vaccine is best made in partnership with your healthcare professional. You should get the mRNA vaccine (Pfizer-BioNTech or Moderna) if and as soon as it becomes available to you. The risks of COVID-19 disease outweigh any potential risks from the vaccine. In addition, members of the same household and close contacts should also get an mRNA vaccine (Pfizer-BioNTech or Moderna) when available to decrease the impact of the virus.

The Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna COVID-19 vaccines require two doses. You need to get both doses for it to be fully effective. You should follow local, regional and national guidelines on the timing of the second dose. If you have had COVID-19 and recovered, you should also get the vaccine since it does not appear that prior infection protects from future COVID-19 infection indefinitely. Note that following full vaccination (both doses), it may take up to three weeks to reach maximal immunity.

We do not know how long a vaccinated person is protected from COVID-19, although clinical trial data indicates that protection is very high (ie; vaccinated persons have a very low, less than 5% risk, of having COVID-19 symptoms if exposed to the virus) for at least multiple months. Repeated doses of the COVID-19 vaccines may be required in future years.

People with progressive MS, those who are older, those who have a higher level of physical disability (e.g. limited walking distance), those with certain medical conditions (e.g. diabetes, high blood pressure, obesity, heart and lung disease), and Black people with MS and possibly South Asian people with MS, are among groups with the highest risk of hospitalisation due to COVID-19.

Read more about the latest advice on COVID-19 vaccines for people with MS here


MSNZ Covid-19 articles

Covid-19 in Ocrelizumab-treated people with Multiple Sclerosis  January 26, 2021

MS the Coronavirus and vaccines – updated global advice  January 25, 2021

Covid-19 – Advice for Patients  April 9, 2020

Covid-19 & MS – Global data sharing initiative  April 2, 2020

Seven tips to get you through lockdown with MS  March 27, 2020

We’re still here for you  March 24, 2020

Alert Level 2 – Advice for people with Multiple Sclerosis  March 23, 2020

Staying active at home  March 19, 2020

Preparing for a pandemic  March 19, 2020

Novotel Coronavirus (Covid-19)  February 13, 2020

Covid vaccine  update for people with MS and Covid vaccination Webinar June 3, 2021