Skip to main content Help with accessibility Skip to main navigation

Support for clinically extremely vulnerable people

Who this guidance is for

This guidance is for everyone in England who has been identified as clinically extremely vulnerable from coronavirus (COVID-19). This includes those people who have been identified by the NHS as being clinically extremely vulnerable and those identified through the COVID-19 Population Risk Assessment.  If you have been identified as being clinically extremely vulnerable, you will previously have received a letter from the NHS or from your GP telling you this. You may also have been advised to shield in the past.

This guidance applies to clinically extremely vulnerable individuals only. Others living in a household with someone who is clinically extremely vulnerable are not advised to follow this guidance. They should instead follow the advice and restrictions that are in place for everyone in England.

Who this guidance is for

This guidance is for everyone in England who has been identified as clinically extremely vulnerable from coronavirus (COVID-19). This includes those people who have been identified by the NHS as being clinically extremely vulnerable and those identified through the COVID-19 population risk assessment. All of those identified have been added to the Shielded Patient List, and more information on the criteria used is available below. If you have been identified as being clinically extremely vulnerable, you will previously have received a letter from the NHS or from your GP telling you this. You may also have been advised to shield in the past.

There is different guidance for clinically extremely vulnerable people living in Scotland, living in Wales and living in Northern Ireland.

What has changed

Shielding advice was paused on 1 April 2021. If you require additional care and support to help you stay safe and well, there is further advice below.

As restrictions have been eased following the move to Step 4 of the roadmap, we are advising clinically extremely vulnerable people, as a minimum, to follow the same guidance as everyone else. It is important that everyone adheres to this guidance.

However, as someone who is at a higher risk of becoming seriously ill if you were to catch COVID-19, you may wish to think particularly carefully about additional precautions you might wish to continue to take. Individuals may choose to limit the close contact they have with those they do not usually meet with in order to reduce the risk of catching or spreading COVID-19, particularly if they are clinically extremely vulnerable and if COVID-19 disease levels in the general community are high. It is important to respect and be considerate of those who may wish to take a more cautious approach as restrictions are lifted.

We understand you may have concerns and wish to know how you can continue to take precautions to keep yourself safe. There are things that you can continue to do to lower your risk of infection and prevent the spread of COVID-19, and some examples are outlined in the sections below.

Although the vast majority of the population, including the clinically extremely vulnerable, will be well protected by the vaccine, no vaccine is 100% effective and there is emerging evidence that suggests that some immunocompromised and immunosuppressed individuals may not respond as well to COVID-19 vaccines as others. However, all COVID-19 vaccines should offer some degree of protection. Therefore, it is really important that you have both your first and second dose of the coronavirus vaccine.

A recent study from Public Health England (PHE), which looked at more than 1 million people in at-risk groups, found that people who are immunosuppressed are significantly better protected from symptomatic infection following the second dose of a COVID-19 vaccine.

We are continuing to work to better understand who is less well protected by the COVID-19 vaccines, and there are various studies underway that are looking at this.

If you have any questions or concerns about what it means to be clinically extremely vulnerable and how COVID-19 may impact your health condition, have a look at the NHS website.

If you are concerned about your general physical and mental wellbeing or if you are immunocompromised or immunosuppressed and have any concerns about what this means for you, then please contact your GP practice or specialist who can provide you with support and guidance on any further measures you can take to further reduce your risk of infection.

Vaccination

Everyone on the Shielded Patient List should already have been offered a COVID-19 vaccine. If you have not yet received your first dose, please contact your GP, book your vaccination appointment online or call 119. If you have received your first dose, you should still ensure you take up your second dose of the vaccine. Having 2 doses should further increase your level of protection. For some with immunosuppression it may only be with your second dose that a significant immune response is triggered.

The Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation (JCVI) interim advice, based on existing evidence, is to offer COVID-19 booster vaccines to the most vulnerable, starting from September 2021. The booster programme will aim to provide additional resilience against variants, and maximise protection in those who are the most vulnerable to serious disease from COVID-19 ahead of the winter months, when there is increased pressure on the NHS as non-COVID-19 emergency demand is at its highest.

A booster dose would be offered to groups in 2 stages and, if possible, delivered alongside the annual influenza vaccination. In the first stage, a booster would be offered to:

  • adults aged 16 years and over who are immunosuppressed
  • those living in residential care homes for older adults
  • all adults aged 70 years or over
  • adults aged 16 years and over who are considered clinically extremely vulnerable
  • frontline health and social care workers

As soon as practicable after the first stage, the second stage would see a booster offered to:

  • all adults aged 50 years and over
  • adults aged 16 to 49 years who are in an influenza or COVID-19 at-risk group
  • adult household contacts of immunosuppressed individuals

Further details of any booster campaign, including when, for whom and which vaccine(s) would be used, will become available once the JCVI has considered further evidence and made its final recommendations.

Children under 16 years of age, even if they are clinically extremely vulnerable, are at low risk of serious illness and death from COVID-19 and are not routinely recommended for vaccination. However, the JCVI has advised that the following groups of children should be offered vaccination against COVID-19:

  • 12 to 15 year olds with the following health conditions:
    • severe neuro-disabilities
    • Down’s syndrome
    • underlying conditions resulting in immunosuppression
    • those with profound and multiple learning disabilities, severe learning disabilities or who are on the learning disability register
  • 12 to 17 year olds who are healthy, but who live with individuals (adults or children) who are immunosuppressed

All 16 and 17 year olds who are either clinically extremely vulnerable or have underlying health conditions were included in Phase One of the vaccine deployment programme, and should therefore already have been offered a COVID-19 vaccine.

The NHS will contact eligible children to invite them for vaccination. If a parent or guardian thinks that their child is eligible but has not been contacted by the end of August, they should contact their GP.

No vaccine is 100% effective and therefore even if you have had both doses, there is still no absolute guarantee that you will not become ill from COVID-19. As such, you should continue to follow the guidance that is in place for everyone.

Socialising inside and outside the home

We recognise that restrictions on socialising with friends and family have been difficult for everyone, especially for clinically extremely vulnerable people during periods of shielding. Guidance on socialising inside and outside of the home with your friends and family has been updated for everyone. From 19 July, there are no longer any limits on the number of people or households that you can meet with. In addition, the requirement to socially distance from others has ended, other than in a few exceptions.

Social distancing rules (2 metres or 1 metre with additional mitigations) have been lifted. You should continue to consider the risks of close contact with others, particularly if you are clinically extremely vulnerable or not yet fully vaccinated. The risk of catching or passing on COVID-19 is generally higher:

  • in crowded spaces, where there are more people who might be infectious
  • in enclosed indoor spaces where there is limited fresh air
  • when COVID-19 disease levels are high in the general community

Everyone will only be required to socially distance in limited circumstances, such as maintaining infection control in health and care settings.

As someone identified as clinically extremely vulnerable, we acknowledge that social distancing has been particularly difficult for you, especially during periods of shielding. Because clinically extremely vulnerable people are at higher risk of severe illness from COVID-19, you may wish to think particularly carefully about taking precautions when meeting others you do not usually meet with in order to reduce the risk of catching or spreading COVID-19. For example, you could:

  • meet outside if possible – the particles containing the virus that causes COVID-19 are quickly blown away which makes it less likely that they will be breathed in by another person
  • make sure the space is well ventilated if you meet inside; open windows and doors or take other action to let in plenty of fresh air – please see the COVID-19: ventilation of indoor spaces guidance for more information
  • consider whether you and those you are meeting have been vaccinated – you might want to wait until 14 days after everyone’s second dose of a COVID-19 vaccine before being in close contact with others
  • wash your hands regularly and avoid touching your face
  • consider continuing to practice social distancing if that feels right for you and your friends
  • asking friends and family to take a lateral flow test before visiting you
  • ask home visitors to wear face coverings

You are encouraged to go outside for exercise and can do so freely now. You can find tips and advice on staying active and eating healthily at NHS Better Health. You can find more information online about how to stop the spread of coronavirus.

Work

From 19 July, social distancing measures have ended in the workplace and it is no longer necessary for the government to instruct people to work from home.

However, employers still have a legal responsibility to protect their employees and others from risks to their health and safety. Your employer should be able to explain to you the measures they have in place to keep you safe at work. Some employers may request employees to undertake regular testing for COVID-19 to identify people who are asymptomatic.

The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) has published guidance on protecting vulnerable workers, including advice for employers and employees on how to talk about reducing risks in the workplace.

If you need support to work at home or in the workplace you can apply for Access to Work. Access to Work may provide support for the disability-related extra costs of working that are beyond standard reasonable adjustments an employer must provide. Access to Work will prioritise applications from disabled people who are in the clinically extremely vulnerable group.

If you have access to occupational health and employee assistance programmes in the workplace, these services can also provide you with a range of health support and advice for your physical and mental health needs.

The Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme (furlough) is available until 30 September. You may be eligible throughout this period, even when shielding is paused, providing your employer agrees. The Self-Employment Income Support Scheme (SEISS) is also available until 30 September.

You may be eligible for Statutory Sick Pay (SSP) or Employment and Support Allowance (ESA) if you are sick or incapable of work, either due to coronavirus or other health reasons, subject to meeting the eligibility conditions.

If you have concerns about your health and safety at work then you can raise them with your workplace union, HSE or your local authority. Where employers are not managing the risk of COVID-19, HSE and local authorities will take action which can range from the provision of specific advice, issuing enforcement notices, stopping certain work practices until they are made safe and, where businesses fail to comply with enforcement notices, this could lead to prosecution.

The existing employment rights framework provides protections against discrimination, unfair dismissal and detriment. Specific guidance has been published for employers and workers on work absences due to coronavirus (COVID-19).

Citizens Advice also has information about your rights at work and how to solve problems in the workplace. If you have concerns you can also get advice on your specific situation and your employment rights by visiting the Acas website or calling the Acas helpline on 0300 123 1100.

School, college and other educational settings

It is important that children attend school for their education, wellbeing, mental health and long-term development. Clinically extremely vulnerable pupils and students should have returned to their school or other educational setting. This includes early years provision, wraparound childcare and applicable out-of-school settings.

Where parents are concerned about their child’s attendance, they should speak to their child’s educational setting about their concerns and discuss the measures that have been put in place to reduce the risk. They should also discuss other measures that can be put in place to ensure their children can regularly attend.

The use of rapid lateral flow tests helps us to identify individuals with COVID-19 who do not have symptoms, which make up around a third of all cases. Finding asymptomatic cases, along with other infection prevention and control measures can help us manage the spread of the virus.

To safeguard the health of the teaching workforce and keep as many staff, pupils and students in school and college as possible, we have made rapid lateral flow tests available to schools and colleges. Lateral flow tests can also be accessed directly for households of primary and secondary school pupils and for households of primary and secondary school staff. This testing will also help keep safe those in the community who are clinically extremely vulnerable and their families.

All early years providers, schools and colleges are continuing to put in place measures to help minimise the risk of spreading COVID-19. These include handwashing, use of face coverings in specific situations, enhancing cleaning, ventilation and managing suspected and confirmed cases.

Travel

Whilst the legal requirement to wear a face covering has been lifted from 19 July, the government expects and recommends that people continue to wear face coverings in crowded areas, such as public transport. Wearing a face covering, especially when there is close contact between people in enclosed and crowded spaces will still help to reduce the risk of spreading COVID-19. It may also help those who are clinically extremely vulnerable feel more relaxed. It is important that face coverings fit securely around the face and safely cover the mouth and the nose.

Going to shops and pharmacies

Clinically extremely vulnerable people are now advised to follow the guidance that applies to the rest of the population. You may still wish to consider going to the shops and pharmacy at quieter times of the day.

Priority access to supermarket delivery slots using the shielding support website ended on 21 June. After 21 June, you can continue to book delivery slots in the usual manner from a supermarket.

You can continue to ask for short-term help from the NHS Volunteer Responder scheme with telephone support if you are feeling lonely, or for help with collecting shopping (if you are unable to use any of the online or telephone shopping options now available through most supermarkets), medication or other essential supplies that you need delivered to your home. You can ask for help by visiting NHS Volunteer Responders or calling 08081963646 between 8am and 8pm.

Previous guidance can be found below

Shielding advice was paused on 1 April 2021. If you require additional care and support to help you stay safe and well, there is further advice below.

As restrictions have been eased following the move to Step 4 of the roadmap, we are advising clinically extremely vulnerable people, as a minimum, to follow the same guidance as everyone else. It is important that everyone adheres to this guidance.

However, as someone who is at a higher risk of becoming seriously ill if you were to catch COVID-19, you may wish to think particularly carefully about additional precautions you might wish to continue to take. Individuals may choose to limit the close contact they have with those they do not usually meet with in order to reduce the risk of catching or spreading COVID-19, particularly if they are clinically extremely vulnerable and if COVID-19 disease levels in the general community are high. It is important to respect and be considerate of those who may wish to take a more cautious approach as restrictions are lifted.

We understand you may have concerns and wish to know how you can continue to take precautions to keep yourself safe. There are things that you can continue to do to lower your risk of infection and prevent the spread of COVID-19, and some examples are outlined in the sections below.

Although the vast majority of the population, including the clinically extremely vulnerable, will be well protected by the vaccine, no vaccine is 100% effective and there is emerging evidence that suggests that some immunocompromised and immunosuppressed individuals may not respond as well to COVID-19 vaccines as others. However, all COVID-19 vaccines should offer some degree of protection. Therefore, it is really important that you have both your first and second dose of the coronavirus vaccine.

A recent study from Public Health England (PHE), which looked at more than 1 million people in at-risk groups, found that people who are immunosuppressed are significantly better protected from symptomatic infection following the second dose of a COVID-19 vaccine.

We are continuing to work to better understand who is less well protected by the COVID-19 vaccines, and there are various studies underway that are looking at this.

If you have any questions or concerns about what it means to be clinically extremely vulnerable and how COVID-19 may impact your health condition, have a look at the NHS website.

If you are concerned about your general physical and mental wellbeing or if you are immunocompromised or immunosuppressed and have any concerns about what this means for you, then please contact your GP practice or specialist who can provide you with support and guidance on any further measures you can take to further reduce your risk of infection.

Vaccination

Everyone on the Shielded Patient List should already have been offered a COVID-19 vaccine. If you have not yet received your first dose, please contact your GP or visit: COVID-19 vaccination walk-in clinics - Wirral CCG for the latest information on how to get your vaccine. 

If you have received your first dose, you should still ensure you take up your second dose of the vaccine. Having 2 doses should further increase your level of protection. For some with immunosuppression it may only be with your second dose that a significant immune response is triggered.

The Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation (JCVI) interim advice, based on existing evidence, is to offer COVID-19 booster vaccines to the most vulnerable, starting from September 2021. The booster programme will aim to provide additional resilience against variants, and maximise protection in those who are the most vulnerable to serious disease from COVID-19 ahead of the winter months, when there is increased pressure on the NHS as non-COVID-19 emergency demand is at its highest.

A booster dose would be offered to groups in 2 stages and, if possible, delivered alongside the annual influenza vaccination. In the first stage, a booster would be offered to:

  • adults aged 16 years and over who are immunosuppressed
  • those living in residential care homes for older adults
  • all adults aged 70 years or over
  • adults aged 16 years and over who are considered clinically extremely vulnerable
  • frontline health and social care workers

As soon as practicable after the first stage, the second stage would see a booster offered to:

  • all adults aged 50 years and over
  • adults aged 16 to 49 years who are in an influenza or COVID-19 at-risk group
  • adult household contacts of immunosuppressed individuals

Further details of any booster campaign, including when, for whom and which vaccine(s) would be used, will become available once the JCVI has considered further evidence and made its final recommendations.

Children under 16 years of age, even if they are clinically extremely vulnerable, are at low risk of serious illness and death from COVID-19 and are not routinely recommended for vaccination. However, the JCVI has advised that the following groups of children should be offered vaccination against COVID-19:

  • 12 to 15 year olds with the following health conditions:
    • severe neuro-disabilities
    • Down’s syndrome
    • underlying conditions resulting in immunosuppression
    • those with profound and multiple learning disabilities, severe learning disabilities or who are on the learning disability register
  • 12 to 17 year olds who are healthy, but who live with individuals (adults or children) who are immunosuppressed

All 16 and 17 year olds who are either clinically extremely vulnerable or have underlying health conditions were included in Phase One of the vaccine deployment programme, and should therefore already have been offered a COVID-19 vaccine.

The NHS will contact eligible children to invite them for vaccination. If a parent or guardian thinks that their child is eligible but has not been contacted by the end of August, they should contact their GP.

No vaccine is 100% effective and therefore even if you have had both doses, there is still no absolute guarantee that you will not become ill from COVID-19. As such, you should continue to follow the guidance that is in place for everyone.

Socialising inside and outside the home

We recognise that restrictions on socialising with friends and family have been difficult for everyone, especially for clinically extremely vulnerable people during periods of shielding. Guidance on socialising inside and outside of the home with your friends and family has been updated for everyone. From 19 July, there are no longer any limits on the number of people or households that you can meet with. In addition, the requirement to socially distance from others has ended, other than in a few exceptions.

Social distancing rules (2 metres or 1 metre with additional mitigations) have been lifted. You should continue to consider the risks of close contact with others, particularly if you are clinically extremely vulnerable or not yet fully vaccinated. The risk of catching or passing on COVID-19 is generally higher:

  • in crowded spaces, where there are more people who might be infectious
  • in enclosed indoor spaces where there is limited fresh air
  • when COVID-19 disease levels are high in the general community

Everyone will only be required to socially distance in limited circumstances, such as maintaining infection control in health and care settings.

As someone identified as clinically extremely vulnerable, we acknowledge that social distancing has been particularly difficult for you, especially during periods of shielding. Because clinically extremely vulnerable people are at higher risk of severe illness from COVID-19, you may wish to think particularly carefully about taking precautions when meeting others you do not usually meet with in order to reduce the risk of catching or spreading COVID-19. For example, you could:

  • meet outside if possible – the particles containing the virus that causes COVID-19 are quickly blown away which makes it less likely that they will be breathed in by another person
  • make sure the space is well ventilated if you meet inside; open windows and doors or take other action to let in plenty of fresh air – please see the COVID-19: ventilation of indoor spaces guidance for more information
  • consider whether you and those you are meeting have been vaccinated – you might want to wait until 14 days after everyone’s second dose of a COVID-19 vaccine before being in close contact with others
  • wash your hands regularly and avoid touching your face
  • consider continuing to practice social distancing if that feels right for you and your friends
  • asking friends and family to take a lateral flow test before visiting you
  • ask home visitors to wear face coverings

You are encouraged to go outside for exercise and can do so freely now. You can find tips and advice on staying active and eating healthily at NHS Better Health. You can find more information online about how to stop the spread of coronavirus.

Work

From 19 July, social distancing measures have ended in the workplace and it is no longer necessary for the government to instruct people to work from home.

However, employers still have a legal responsibility to protect their employees and others from risks to their health and safety. Your employer should be able to explain to you the measures they have in place to keep you safe at work. Some employers may request employees to undertake regular testing for COVID-19 to identify people who are asymptomatic.

The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) has published guidance on protecting vulnerable workers, including advice for employers and employees on how to talk about reducing risks in the workplace.

If you need support to work at home or in the workplace you can apply for Access to Work. Access to Work may provide support for the disability-related extra costs of working that are beyond standard reasonable adjustments an employer must provide. Access to Work will prioritise applications from disabled people who are in the clinically extremely vulnerable group.

If you have access to occupational health and employee assistance programmes in the workplace, these services can also provide you with a range of health support and advice for your physical and mental health needs.

The Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme (furlough) is available until 30 September. You may be eligible throughout this period, even when shielding is paused, providing your employer agrees. The Self-Employment Income Support Scheme (SEISS) is also available until 30 September.

You may be eligible for Statutory Sick Pay (SSP) or Employment and Support Allowance (ESA) if you are sick or incapable of work, either due to coronavirus or other health reasons, subject to meeting the eligibility conditions.

If you have concerns about your health and safety at work then you can raise them with your workplace union, HSE or your local authority. Where employers are not managing the risk of COVID-19, HSE and local authorities will take action which can range from the provision of specific advice, issuing enforcement notices, stopping certain work practices until they are made safe and, where businesses fail to comply with enforcement notices, this could lead to prosecution.

The existing employment rights framework provides protections against discrimination, unfair dismissal and detriment. Specific guidance has been published for employers and workers on work absences due to coronavirus (COVID-19).

Citizens Advice also has information about your rights at work and how to solve problems in the workplace. If you have concerns you can also get advice on your specific situation and your employment rights by visiting the Acas website or calling the Acas helpline on 0300 123 1100.

School, college and other educational settings

It is important that children attend school for their education, wellbeing, mental health and long-term development. Clinically extremely vulnerable pupils and students should have returned to their school or other educational setting. This includes early years provision, wraparound childcare and applicable out-of-school settings.

Where parents are concerned about their child’s attendance, they should speak to their child’s educational setting about their concerns and discuss the measures that have been put in place to reduce the risk. They should also discuss other measures that can be put in place to ensure their children can regularly attend.

The use of rapid lateral flow tests helps us to identify individuals with COVID-19 who do not have symptoms, which make up around a third of all cases. Finding asymptomatic cases, along with other infection prevention and control measures can help us manage the spread of the virus.

To safeguard the health of the teaching workforce and keep as many staff, pupils and students in school and college as possible, we have made rapid lateral flow tests available to schools and colleges. Lateral flow tests can also be accessed directly for households of primary and secondary school pupils and for households of primary and secondary school staff. This testing will also help keep safe those in the community who are clinically extremely vulnerable and their families.

All early years providers, schools and colleges are continuing to put in place to help minimise the risk of spreading COVID-19. These include handwashing, use of face coverings in specific situations, enhancing cleaning, ventilation and managing suspected and confirmed cases.

Travel

Whilst the legal requirement to wear a face covering has been lifted from 19 July, the government expects and recommends that people continue to wear face coverings in crowded areas, such as public transport. Wearing a face covering, especially when there is close contact between people in enclosed and crowded spaces will still help to reduce the risk of spreading COVID-19. It may also help those who are clinically extremely vulnerable feel more relaxed. It is important that face coverings fit securely around the face and safely cover the mouth and the nose.

Going to shops and pharmacies

Clinically extremely vulnerable people are now advised to follow the guidance that applies to the rest of the population. You may still wish to consider going to the shops and pharmacy at quieter times of the day.

Priority access to supermarket delivery slots using the shielding support website ended on 21 June. After 21 June, you can continue to book delivery slots in the usual manner from a supermarket.

You can continue to ask for short-term help from the NHS Volunteer Responder scheme with telephone support if you are feeling lonely, or for help with collecting shopping (if you are unable to use any of the online or telephone shopping options now available through most supermarkets), medication or other essential supplies that you need delivered to your home. You can ask for help by visiting NHS Volunteer Responders or calling 08081963646 between 8am and 8pm.

Information for those who have recently been added to the Shielded Patients List

New research commissioned by the Chief Medical Officer has recently enabled the Government to identify people who may be at increased risk of becoming seriously unwell from coronavirus. This is because of a combination of their individual characteristics and their underlying health conditions. Those who have been identified as being 'higher risk' will be receiving a letter informing them to shield until at least the 31st of March 2021.

As soon as an individual is flagged as potentially clinically extremely vulnerable by NHS Digital’s COVID-19 population risk assessment, they will be sent a letter outlining how they have been identified, that they are being added to the Shielded Patient List as a precautionary measure, and highlighting additional guidance to support them.  The government will also be issuing letters by email for those who have registered an email address with their GP practice.

For most, they will be have been identified as high risk because they have a combination of underlying health conditions or are undergoing specialist treatment and they may be able to discuss this when they get their vaccination.

As a result of their addition to the high-risk group, patients will receive a letter inviting them for vaccination as soon as possible.

Patients can speak to their GP or specialist clinician if they have questions as to why they have been added to the Shielded Patient List, or if they feel they should no longer be identified as clinically extremely vulnerable. GPs and specialist clinicians will be able to make their own assessment of an individual based on their clinical knowledge and are able to add and remove individuals from the Shielded Patient List.

For now, there will be no changes to the existing list of medical conditions used to identify individuals who may be clinically extremely vulnerable to COVID-19. This list is agreed by the 4 UK Chief Medical Officers on the basis of the latest available evidence.

Frequently asked Questions

Why have I been identified as someone who may now be at high risk

The Government is always learning more about coronavirus and the things that might contribute to people becoming seriously ill. They asked a team of experts to look at data from the first wave of the pandemic, to get a better understanding of the things that may mean someone is at a high risk of catching and becoming seriously unwell with coronavirus.

By putting this new evidence into a risk model with information the NHS already holds, you have been identified as someone who may be at high risk. This is likely to be because you have a combination of underlying risk factors or health issues which, when combined, indicates high risk.

An extra cautious approach has been taken, so there is a chance that your risk is lower than estimated.  Your GP will be made aware that you have been identified in this way.

A document called the Shielded Patient List Transparency Notice provides more information about the risk model used to identify that you may be at high risk, and the factors it took into account. It also explains how the NHS uses your personal information to provide you with support. You can read this here: https://digital.nhs.uk/coronavirus/shielded-patient-list/shielded-patient-list-transparency-notice

What is the difference between those originally deemed clinically extremely vulnerable and those who have now been added to that list?

The existing list of medical conditions used to identify individuals who may be clinically extremely vulnerable to COVID-19 was agreed by the four UK Chief Medical Officers on the basis of the latest available evidence. As we had very little data about COVID-19 risk factors at the time, this list was based on our understanding of vulnerability to other respiratory viruses such as flu. Patients being added to the SPL using the COVID-19 Population Risk Assessment, powered by QCovid®, are those who may be at increased risk of becoming seriously unwell from coronavirus because of a combination of their individual characteristics and their underlying health conditions based on this new research. This includes characteristics like someone’s age, ethnicity, BMI and certain medical conditions. NHS Digital’s website  will provide a list of the risk factors that the QCovid® model uses, in an approximate order of their impact on coronavirus outcomes.

What if I don’t want to be on the list?

GPs have the option to add or remove patients from the Shielded Patients List, based on their clinical judgement. If you do not wish to be on the list, please contact and discuss the implications of this with your GP.

When will I get my Vaccination and will I have to shield once I have had it?

Additions to the Shielded Patients List are being made as quickly as possible as we want to provide vaccination as quickly as we can.

After you have had your vaccination, it is still advised that you should shield up until the 31st of March.

What does Shielding mean, and how long will it last?

The Clinically extremely vulnerable, and the new additions to the Shielded Patient List, are advised to stay at home as much as possible, and only go out for medical appointments, exercise or if it is essential until the 31st of March. You can still meet with your support bubble (if you are eligible for one), however, you should not meet with those outside of your support bubble.

Can I still go to work?

You are strongly advised to work from home because the risk of exposure to the virus in your area may currently be higher. If you cannot work from home, then you should not attend work.  You may want to speak to your employer about taking on an alternative role or change your working patterns temporarily to enable you to work from home where possible. If you need support to work at home you can apply for Access to Work – this will provide support for the disability-related extra costs of working that are beyond standard reasonable adjustments an employer must provide.

If you cannot make alternative arrangements, your employer may be able to furlough you under the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme, which has been extended until the end of April 2021. You should have a conversation with your employer about whether this is possible.

As you are being advised not to attend work, you may be eligible for Statutory Sick Pay (SSP) or Employment and Support Allowance (ESA). The formal shielding letter you receive will act as evidence for your employer and the Department for Work and Pensions that you are advised to shield and may be eligible for SSP or ESA. Members of the household who are not clinically extremely vulnerable should continue to attend work if they are unable to work from home, in line with the wider rules set out in the national lockdown guidance.

Support Available for those who have been added to the SPL

We know that this is a very difficult time, especially for people who are at higher risk. We recommend that you plan the support you may need, so that you can follow the advice to stay at home as much as possible. It will help if you can keep in touch with friends and family via phone or video calls. Although you are advised not to go to shops and pharmacies, if you can go outside for fresh air and exercise safely you are encouraged to do so.

If you do need additional support, there is still lots on offer to help you with the essentials, or a listening ear.

Register with the National Shielding Support Service

The National Shielding Support Service can be accessed online to register for a priority supermarket delivery slot (if you don’t already have access to one) and/or to register support needs if shielding is re-introduced in the future.  www.gov.uk/coronavirus-shielding-support

Wirral InfoBank is a directory of local care and support services, community resources, activities, and information. Visit www.wirralinfobank.co.uk for help with managing your money, accessing social supermarkets or welfare support, religious services, and much more.

Please do contact Wirral Council’s Coronavirus Helpline on 0151 666 5050 if you need to discuss any aspect of your support.

You can get help accessing the things you need

An NHS Volunteer Responder could help you to access food, medicines, or essentials. You can register for this service by calling 0808 196 3646. They can also help with other practical, emotional, and social support.

The NHS is open

GP practices remain open and accessible. Please continue attending your routine appointments and accessing NHS services for the care and treatment you need.

Don’t forget your free flu jab

If you haven’t already, and are eligible, please get your free flu jab. You can access this via your GP surgery.

Social Prescribing Link Workers

Available to provide practical, emotional, and social support via your GP surgery. Please contact your surgery and ask to speak to your Link Worker.

Mental Health and Wellbeing

We understand that everybody has mental health, and many people at some point in their lives may need support to stay emotionally and psychologically well. In fact, 1 in 4 people in the UK will experience a mental health problem every year. NHS Wirral CCG are committed to ensuring that the people of Wirral have the support they need for their mental health, whether that be information and signposting, counselling or perhaps more specialist mental health services.

Click here for information and support

Clinically extremely vulnerable people are now being advised to shield until 31 March 2021 with more people being added to the list.

COVID-19 case numbers are now very high and rising rapidly across the country, driven by the new variant of COVID-19.

Everyone in England, including those who are clinically extremely vulnerable, is required to follow the new national lockdown guidance, which has been set out by the government and applies to the whole population. These restrictions:

  1. Require people to stay at home, except for specific purposes.
  2. Prevent people gathering with those they do not live with, except for specific purposes.
  3. Close certain businesses and venues.
  4. Support children and young people to learn remotely until 8 March at the earliest, except for vulnerable children and the children of critical workers who may still attend school.

The new information below includes additional guidance for clinically extremely vulnerable people, to help protect you from COVID-19. We will also write to you with a version of this guidance.

These new formal shielding measures will apply across the whole of England during the period of national lockdown.

Guidance for clinically extremely vulnerable people.

You are strongly advised to follow these extra measures to keep yourself safe.

We know that this is a very difficult time, especially for people who are at higher risk. We recommend that you plan the support you may need, so that you can follow the advice to stay at home as much as possible. It will help if you can keep in touch with friends and family via phone or video calls. Although you are advised not to go to shops and pharmacies if you can go outside for fresh air and exercise safely you are encouraged to do so.

If you do need additional support, there is still lots on offer to help you with the essentials, or a listening ear.

Here are some important things you need to know:

  • The NHS is open
    GP practices remain open and accessible. Please continue attending your routine appointments and accessing NHS services for the care and treatment you need.
  • Don’t forget your free flu jab
    If you haven’t already, please get your free flu jab. You can access this via your GP surgery.
  • You can get help accessing the things you need
    Wirral InfoBank is a directory of local care and support services, community resources, activities, and information. Visit www.wirralinfobank.co.uk for help with managing your money, accessing social supermarkets or welfare support, religious services, and much more.
  • An NHS Volunteer Responder could help you to access food, medicines, or essentials. You can register for this service by calling 0808 196 3646. They can also help with other practical, emotional, and social support.
  • Register with the National Shielding Support Service
    The National Shielding Support Service can be accessed online to register for a priority supermarket delivery slot (if you don’t already have access to one) and/or to register support needs if shielding is re-introduced in the future.  
    www.gov.uk/coronavirus-shielding-support
     
  • Social Prescribing Link Workers  Available to provide practical, emotional, and social support via your GP surgery. Please contact your surgery and ask to speak to your Link Worker.
  • You are advised to work from home if you can, and if you are not able to, you are advised not to go into work.
  • Clinically extremely vulnerable children are advised not to go to school or college. Your child’s school will help you to plan for their education to continue at home.

Please do contact Wirral Council’s Coronavirus Helpline on 0151 666 5050 if you need to discuss any aspect of your support.

Download details of local support organisations for Wirral

Shielding is currently paused. Although the advice to shield has ended, clinically extremely vulnerable people must continue to follow the rules that are in place for everyone.

We are also advising clinically extremely vulnerable people to continue to take extra precautions to protect themselves. You are advised to follow the practical steps described below to minimise your risk of exposure to the virus.

Guidance on meeting family and friends has been updated, with a greater emphasis on personal responsibility. From 17 May, close contact with friends and family will be a personal choice, but you are encouraged to exercise caution. You should consider the guidance on risks associated with COVID-19 and actions you can take to help keep you and your loved ones safe. There is more information on meeting friends and family available.

Vaccination

Everyone on the Shielded Patient List should already have been offered a COVID-19 vaccine. If you have not yet received your first dose, please contact your GP or visit: COVID-19 vaccination walk-in clinics - Wirral CCG for the latest information on how to get your vaccine.

If you have received your first dose, you should still ensure you take up your second dose of the vaccine when it is offered to you. Having two doses should further increase your level of protection.

For children aged 12 to 15 years, vaccination may be appropriate for those with severe neuro-disabilities. This option should be discussed between parents/guardians and the child’s clinician or GP. For other children aged 15 and under, whilst further research is being done, vaccination is not yet recommended.

No vaccine is 100% effective and therefore even if you have had both doses, there is still no absolute guarantee that you will not become ill from COVID-19. As such, you should continue to take the extra precautions set out in this guidance to help protect yourself.

Socialising inside and outside the home

Guidance on meeting friends and family has been updated for everyone. From 17 May 2021, if you are meeting friends and family (as a group of 6 people or 2 households indoors, or as a group of up to 30 people outdoors), you can make a personal choice on whether to socially distance within your own group. However, social distancing requirements continue to apply in the workplace, and in businesses and public venues. There is more information on meeting friends and family available.

As someone identified as clinically extremely vulnerable, it is important that you continue to be cautious when meeting others. You should think about the risk of catching or passing on COVID-19 both to yourself and to others before meeting people you do not live with. You can take steps to make meeting family and friends safer, such as:

  • meeting outside if possible, as the particles containing the virus that causes COVID-19 are quickly blown away which makes it less likely that they will be breathed in by another person
  • making sure the space is well ventilated if you meet inside; open windows and doors or take other action to let in plenty of fresh air. Please see the COVID-19: ventilation of indoor spaces guidance for more information
  • considering whether you and those you are meeting have been vaccinated – you might want to wait until 21 days after your second dose of a COVID-19 vaccine before being in close contact with others
  • working from home where possible
  • washing your hands regularly and avoid touching your face

You are encouraged to go outside for exercise and can do so with people from outside your household, subject to the wider rules on social contact. You can find tips and advice on staying active and eating healthily at NHS Better Health.

Try to reduce the amount of time you spend in settings where you are unable to maintain social distancing with people outside of your group, or where other people’s activities may reduce their likelihood of maintaining social distancing.

You can continue to form or maintain existing support bubbles if you are eligible.

You can find more information online about how to stop the spread of coronavirus.

For more information including guidance on going back to work, travel and what to do if you require additional care and support click here