Guidance for clinically extremely vulnerable

We know that the pandemic has been a difficult time for everyone and recognise that it has been particularly hard for those who have been advised to take extra precautions.

Shielding advice was paused on 1 April 2021. Although cases of COVID-19 are currently higher than at other points during the pandemic, they are still below the levels at which shielding was last introduced, with significantly fewer hospitalisations than seen when cases were at similar levels.

Coupled with the high levels of vaccination, this means that the risk of catching COVID-19 is lower for everyone, including clinically extremely vulnerable people. This has allowed the Government to ease restrictions for everyone.

Clinically extremely vulnerable people are now advised, as a minimum, to follow the same guidance as the general population, which means the changes that came into effect on 19 July also apply to you. The guidance for everyone is available at gov.uk/guidance/covid-19-coronavirus-restrictions-what-you-can-and-cannot-do

The latest information that we have suggests that having two doses of a COVID-19 vaccine reduces the severity of the illness if you catch the virus. However, as you may remain 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 may wish to take. There is a separate guidance page for clinically extremely vulnerable people that contains some examples of additional precautions that you might consider taking. More information is available at gov.uk/government/publications/guidance-on-shielding-and-protecting-extremely-vulnerable-persons-from-covid-19

Examples of things you could do to lower your risk of infection:

  •   meet outside where possible
  •   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
  • 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
  •   ask friends and family to take a lateral flow test before visiting you
  •   ask home visitors to wear face coverings

If you have any questions or concerns about what it means to be clinically extremely vulnerable and about 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

You might still want to ask friends, family or volunteers to collect medicines for you. The NHS Volunteer Responders programme is still available to help support those who need it. Volunteers can collect and deliver shopping, medication and other essential supplies. Call 0808 196 3646 between 8am and 8pm, 7 days a week to self-refer or visit https://nhsvolunteerresponders.org.uk/for further information.

Find out more about the guidance on protecting people who are clinically extremely vulnerable from COVID-19.

Emergency help and support

If you are struggling and need extra help or know someone who does, you can call a number of services directly. 

Financial support

If you are struggling due to COVID-19, you may be able to receive some financial support 

If you require additional care and support

It is important that you continue to receive the care and support you need to help you stay safe and well. Providers of social care and medical services are making every effort to ensure services remain open and as safe as possible.

You should continue to seek support from the NHS for your existing health conditions. You can access a range of NHS services from home, including ordering repeat prescriptions or contacting your health professional through an online consultation. To find out more visit www.nhs.uk/health-at-home or download the NHS App. If you have an urgent medical need, call NHS 111 or, for a medical emergency, dial 999.

It is also important to look after your mental health. Go to the Every Mind Matters website for advice and practical steps that you can take to support your wellbeing and manage your mental health during this pandemic and beyond. The Let’s Talk Loneliness website also has a variety of tips, advice and further resources that you may find helpful. 

You can also access additional support from your energy supplier. Energy suppliers are required by the regulator, Ofgem, to hold a register of customers in a vulnerable circumstance, called a Priority Service Register. If you are clinically extremely vulnerable you can be added to this register. For information about how to be added to the register and the additional services your supplier can provide you, please visit Ofgem’s website.

The full guidance can be found online at www.gov.uk/coronavirus and you can find out what

If you are advised to shield in the future, the Government will write to you setting out the guidance and additional support that will be available if you need it.

Find out more about the guidance on protecting people who are clinically extremely vulnerable from COVID-19.