Last updated 1 April 2021
This guidance is for everyone in England who has been identified as clinically extremely vulnerable from 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.
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.
Since January 2021, cases of COVID-19 have fallen significantly across the country, reducing the risk of catching the virus for everyone, including the most vulnerable. Shielding has only ever been a temporary measure to protect the most vulnerable during peaks of the pandemic. The latest peak has now passed, and the prevalence of the virus is now low enough that we can advise people no longer need to shield.
The Government has outlined its roadmap out of the lockdown, with a gradual easing of restrictions over the next few months that will apply to everyone. In addition, the vaccination programme continues to be rolled out to everyone, with prioritisation based on the advice from the Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation (JCVI). This will help pave the way for restrictions to be safely lifted.
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.
Click here to let us know if you found the content of the page helpful
Choose the letter of the service you’re looking for