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Guidance on shielding and protecting people who are clinically extremely vulnerable from COVID-19

Who this guidance is for:
This guidance is for adults and children in England who are clinically extremely vulnerable. You can find out more about who is classed as clinically extremely vulnerable on the Gov.uk website.

If you’re clinically extremely vulnerable you should have received a letter confirming this or have been told directly by your GP or hospital clinician.

What has changed:
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.

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, you should contact your GP or book your vaccination appointment online. 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.

Work and employment:
You are advised work from home if possible and your employer should support you to do this.
If you cannot work from home, you can go to work. Talk to your employer if you are concerned about going to work. Employers should make sure suitable arrangements are in place so you can work safely.
Some employers may offer regular testing to check for people who have COVID-19 but do not have symptoms. This can help stop the virus spreading.

Employment rights:
If you have concerns, you can get advice on your specific situation and your employment rights by visiting the Acas website or calling the Acas helpline, 0300 123 1100.

If you have concerns about your health and safety at work, you can raise them with:

If you’re unable to work from home or a location outside the lockdown area:
The Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme (furlough) has been extended until 30 September 2021. You may continue to be eligible throughout this period, even when shielding is paused, providing your employer agrees. The Self-Employment Income Support Scheme (SEISS) has also been extended until 30 September 2021.

Clinically extremely vulnerable children and young people:

Research suggests that the risk of serious illness for most children and young people is low. In the future, we expect fewer children and young people will be included on the shielded patient list. If a child or young person is removed from the shielded patient list, they will no longer be advised to shield in the future if coronavirus transmission increases.

To decide on whether a child or young person should be removed from the shielded patient list, you should talk to your paediatric specialist or GP. They will be in touch over the summer to discuss these decisions with you.

Annual flu programme:
As part of the 2020 to 2021 flu vaccination programme, all other members of households of those who are identified as clinically extremely vulnerable at the time of the flu programme delivery are eligible for free flu vaccinations.

Most people who are clinically extremely vulnerable will already be eligible for a free flu vaccination.

Read further information about the annual flu programme.

For more information on shielding please visit the gov.uk website.

(Updated 01/07/21)