# 12-2022 Community Advisor News

Sent: Wednesday, 3 August 2022 5:25 pm
Subject: News from your Community Advisor #12


Kia ora koutou,


One more month of winter to go!  It has been a tough and changeable month on all fronts from weather to COVID and the flu. In this update you will read about the inspiring work of Joan Perry in getting the Stem Cell (HSCT) petition to parliament, some really interesting research articles and a reminder that you may be eligible to claim the Disability Benefit.


Take care and keep in touch.


Health & disability system transformation

There is a lot of information to read about the system transformation under Te Whatu Ora – Health New Zealand and you have probably noted that the term “district” is being used in the place of District Health Board. Last week Margie and Riana joined Dr Nick Chamberlain, National Director of the National Public Health Service to outline the roles of the new agencies and how they are working together to shape our new health system.  You can watch the hui recording here:

Stakeholder Hui – Te Whatu Ora | Health New Zealand


COVID-19 update

The daily numbers of people testing positive are tracking down which is encouraging although there is still plenty of COVID-19 circulating in the community so infection prevention measures to stay well over winter are important:

  • Stay home when unwell and test if showing COVID-19 symptoms
  • When recovering, try to eat lightly and well, get plenty of fluids and only use gentle movement until you are back to full strength
  • Wear masks at your workplace and when around other people
  • Regular hand washing
  • Use of physical distancing when possible.

The more layers of protection you put in place the harder it will be for infections to spread. Click below for more in-depth advice.

Stay well this winter | Ministry of Health NZ


Pharmacist supply of COVID-19 medicines

More than 400 pharmacies around the motu can now supply medicines to eligible people with COVID-19 who are at a higher risk of becoming very sick, without needing a prescription.

Two COVID-19 medicines, Paxlovid and Lagevrio, have been reclassified from prescription-only to restricted or pharmacist-only medicines to enable this new initiative.

People will still require a clinical assessment and these medicines may not be appropriate for everyone, even if they meet Pharmac’s eligibility criteria.  Check with your pharmacist or GP for your eligibility.

About COVID-19 therapeutics | Ministry of Health NZ

Access Criteria assessment tool - Pharmac | New Zealand Government


Second boosters with AstraZeneca and Novavax

People 18 years and older can access second boosters for both AstraZeneca and Novavax via Book My Vaccine.

  • The addition of AstraZeneca and Novavax means people now have a choice in their second booster vaccination, with the Pfizer second booster already available.
  • For the Novavax second booster NO prescription is needed
  • For the AstraZeneca second booster a prescription IS needed.

More information is available on the Ministry of Health website. 

COVID-19 vaccine: Boosters | Ministry of Health NZ


Call centre for disability related COVID queries

A new call centre phone number for disability queries has been established 0800 11 12 13. Most staff working on this line either have a disability or a lived experience of disability.

Callers to this line can get assistance with vaccine bookings, apply for face mask exemptions, get advice on COVID testing, and seek guidance with managing COVID at home.


RAT’s and Masks

The government recently announced people no longer need to have COVID-19 symptoms or be a household contact to get free RATs and free masks can be picked up from some RAT collection sites.

Check out the participating testing locations offering free masks on Healthpoint. MS Community Advisors have a limited stock of RAT’s – just contact me if you need some RAT’s dropped off next week.

COVID-19 Testing • Healthpoint

COVID-19: Higher risk people | Ministry of Health NZ


Reinfection of COVID

The Ministry of Health says if a person develops new COVID-19 symptoms, and it has been 29 days or more since their previous infection, it is possible it is a reinfection with COVID-19, and they should take a rapid antigen test (RAT).  Please note that this is different from previous advice that people should not re-test if they had tested positive for COVID-19 within the past 90 days.

Getting reinfected with COVID-19 | Ministry of Health NZ



Free enduring power of attorney workshops for seniors

An enduring power of attorney (EPA) is a legal document which sets out who can take care of your personal or financial matters if you can't.  In August, Age Concern have some special workshops on Enduring Power of Attorneys, and why you need one. There is a special offer from Porirua and Kapiti Community Law to complete an EPoA for just $100+gst - a huge saving!


Workshops are:

  • Tuesday, 9 August, 1pm, Linden Community Centre - lunch provided
  • Thursday, 18 August, 2pm, Stokes Valley Community Hub - afternoon tea provided
  • Tuesday, 23 August, 2pm, Vogelmorn Hall - afternoon tea provided

Please call 04 499 6645 for details


The Disability Allowance

The Disability Allowance is a weekly payment for people who have regular, ongoing costs because of a disability. These could be visits to the doctor or hospital, medicines, extra clothing or travel.  Other costs that may be considered include power and phone, counselling, exercise related costs, special food, MS beneficial supplements eg magnesium, fish/flaxseed oil.  WINZ pay up to a maximum of $70.04 a week for this non-taxable allowance.  


How much you get depends on the extra costs you have because of your disability. You don't have to be on a benefit to qualify for the Disability Allowance although it is means tested with income thresholds.  Your health practitioner (eg, your doctor) will need to confirm you need these items/services because of your disability and you'll need to provide proof of your costs so keep all your receipts.


If you currently receive a disability allowance from WINZ then it could be an ideal time to review it to ensure you are receiving as much as possible to support your needs.


To find out more and to check eligibility click on the following link:



Emotional support

During times of significant change,  stress can build and have a devastating affect on people’s lives, impacting on their MS, their sense of control and self-esteem.  A reminder about our recorded zoom session “managing change and uncertainty” with Annie Kennedy, as well as the option of phoning 1737 and speaking to a qualified counsellor for free support.




Other options for emotional support, if you are working, may include your employers Employee Assistance Programme (EAP) which enables employees and their immediate family access to free confidential counselling.  Or if you have a community services card, your GP can refer you for some free counselling sessions.  Feel free to contact me to discuss to make sure you get the option that is right for you.



Intermittent Fasting Results

Intermittent Fasting Results in Beneficial Immune and Metabolic Changes in People with MS, Says Society-funded Study


NB if you are considering making significant changes to your diet or lifestyle it is important to get appropriate medical advice in the first instance.


Commonalities of autoimmune conditions

New research will look at what autoimmune conditions have in common. Ten new projects just launched will study what might link autoimmune conditions, including gut damage, serotonin, genetics and more.



Education & upskilling

Individualised funding webinar

Individualised Funding (IF) gives disabled people a way of directly managing their disability supports.  Multiple Sclerosis Auckland recently ran a webinar about 'Individualised Funding to Support MS'.

In the webinar, Liam Sanders and Simon Anderson guides you on how to get the most out of your individualised funding, putting you in control.

Individualised Funding to Support MS - MS Auckland (msakl.org.nz)




Expressions of Interest – Enabling Good Lives

The New Zealand Disability Support Network (NZDSN) in partnership with the Enabling Good Lives National Leadership group and others, are seeking expressions of interest from disabled people, tāngata whaikaha, whānau whaikaha, agia / kainga, families / whānau who would like to share how the principles of Enabling Good Lives have enabled them to live the life they want.  Click on this link for more information.

Enabling Good Lives Video Resources Project - Imagine Better


HSCT petition to parliament

A 10,000-strong petition was delivered to Parliament on 26 July asking Te Whatu Ora - Health New Zealand to extend stem cell treatment (HSCT) to multiple sclerosis patients.  You can read more about the work of Joan and Anne, supported by MSNZ and our Wellington team on the day.



MS Awareness week 12 September – 18 September

This annual event is a time where we seek to raise the profile of MS as a condition so that symptoms are recognised for earlier diagnosis and support, encourage education to better understand and manage the condition and promote the services of the Wellington MS Society to support people in the community.  Our mission is to enable people with MS and their whanau and family to live their best lives.  We do this through the work of our MS Community Advisors who provide a free service for people with MS in the community.


MS Awareness week is also a time where our Society raises funds so we can continue to support people in the community.  This year, in the COVID environment, we are not having a physical street collection so will run an online campaign which you will see more of next month.  If you would like to donate to our Society or help raise funds there are many ways of doing this.  Please just connect with Suzie Linton who manages our fundraising and communications.  Suzie can be contacted on suzanne@mswellington.org.nz or 022 479 9188.  Suzie works part time on Mondays, Tuesdays and Wednesdays.


Community Advisors on First Aid workshop Thursday 4 August

Thanks to funding received from NZ Lotteries, our three MS Community Advisors will be out of the office on vital first aid training tomorrow.


Total Mobility – discounted taxi cards

REMINDER: If you haven’t used your card for 3 years it will be cancelled.  Don’t get caught short, if you’d like your card reactivated or need a new one, please email me.  NB in some situations a new assessment may need to be completed.

Fares will be half price on all Metlink buses, ferries and trains until 31 August 2022, this also includes He Ratonga Tekehī the Total Mobility service.  If people hold a Community Services card, then the half price fare continues after 1 August .  The scheme permanently reduces public transport fares for Community Services Card holders by 50 percent from 1 February 2023.  For full information click here:



Need to talk to a MS Community Advisor?

Our service is still operating in this COVID-19 environment and at “Orange” we are working with people face to face (when it’s safe) as well as continuing contact by phone, email and video conferencing. 


Please note that we do not provide an urgent or emergency service.  If you need this level of service, you can contact your GP, phone Healthline on 0800 611 116, visit your Emergency Department or phone 111 in the event of an emergency.


Ngā mihi,



Gillian Fry

Manager & Lead Community Advisor