Guidance for clinically extremely vulnerable

Shielding advice is being paused nationally from 31 March. From 1 April you are no longer advised to shield, but you must continue to follow the rules in place for everyone under the current national restrictions.

The government has set out a four stage roadmap out of the current lockdown in England. This explains how restrictions will be eased over time. Find out more about the current Covid-19 restrictions and what you can and cannot do.

You must continue to follow the national restrictions, which apply to everyone.  If you are clinically extremely vulnerable, you are advised to continue to take extra precautions to protect yourself and follow these practical steps to minimise the risk of catching the virus:

  • Continue to maintain social distancing, wash your hands regularly and avoid touching your face
  • Continue to minimise your social contact. The less social contact you have, the lower the risk of catching Covid-19
  • When the rules allow you to meet with others from outside of your household, meet them outdoors if possible as the risk of catching Covid-19 is lower
  • Everyone is currently advised to work from home where possible but if you cannot work from home, you should go to work

Going to shops and pharmacies

While you are now not advised to avoid going to the shops, you may wish to continue using online delivery for food and essential shopping, or to rely on family and friends.

If you do go out to the shops or pharmacy, consider going at quieter times of the day.

You must wear a face covering in all shops unless you are exempt.

If you have already registered for priority access to supermarket delivery slots by 31 March, then the participating supermarkets will continue to offer priority access until 21 June. After this date individuals can continue to book deliveries from a supermarket.

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 the NHS Volunteers Responders website 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. Find out more 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.

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.