Protecting extremely vulnerable people

The information in this article should provide guidance for those who are extremely vulnerable to more severe illness from coronavirus and what NHS England and Public Health England are asking you to do at this stage.
timeline for guidance around shielding

People who were identified as clinically extremely vulnerable were at high risk of serious illness if they caught coronavirus (COVID-19). They were advised to take action to prevent themselves from coming into contact with COVID-19 during the time that transmission of coronavirus in the community was high.

If you’re clinically extremely vulnerable, you were strongly advised to stay at home as much as possible and keep interactions outside to a minimum. This is called ‘shielding' and the advice to shield ended on 1st August.

This guidance is government advice and is kept under regular review. It’s not the law.

If there is an outbreak of COVID-19 within our area, please follow local guidance or any specific law which applies to the area you live in.

Shielding advice is currently paused nationally

From 1 August, the government paused shielding except in areas where the transmission of COVID-19 in the community was still high or rising such as Leicester and surrounding areas. Check any local variations

I need support. How can I receive it?

The food and medicine boxes facilitated by the National Shielding Service have stopped as of 1 August, with everyone now being advised that they can visit shops and pharmacies.

Other forms of support – such as priority supermarket delivery slots and local volunteer support will continue.

If you are concerned about the support available to you please contact Richmond Council or contact Healthwatch Richmond.

Staying Safe

You should still take precautions to reduce your risk of catching the virus when you do go out by washing your hands regularly, avoiding touching your face and keeping 2 metres (or 1 metre + protective measures) away from people outside of your household or bubble wherever possible.

To help reduce the risk of people catching the virus everyone must wear a face covering in pubs, shops, supermarkets, and indoor shopping centres, whilst keeping 2 metres away from others wherever possible- or 1 metre plus other precautions.

Please continue to pay particular attention to washing your hands carefully and more frequently than usual. 

Going back to work

You can go to work as long as the workplace is Covid-secure, but should carry on working from home wherever possible. You may be able to take up an alternative role or change your working patterns temporarily.

If you need support to work at home or in the workplace, you can apply for Access to Work. Access to Work will provide support for the disability-related extra costs of working that are beyond standard reasonable adjustments an employer must provide.

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.

Will I be told to shield again? 

You could be advised to shield again if the situation changes and there is an increase in the transmission of COVID-19 in the community.

Your name will be kept securely on the shielded patient list by NHS Digital. We will write to you if the advice changes. Any national changes will be reflected in this guidance.

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.

Clinically extremely vulnerable children and young people

Specialists in paediatric medicine have reviewed the latest evidence on the level of risk posed to children and young people from COVID-19.

The latest evidence indicates that the risk of serious illness for most children and young people is low. If a child or young person has been removed from the shielded patient list, they are no longer be advised to shield in the future if coronavirus transmission increases.

If you have any concerns, you should talk to your paediatric specialist or GP. 

Sources of information

If you have any  questions or concerns contact us by the details below and we will work to find you an answer.

020 8099 5335

Looking for further information about coronavirus?

We have brought together the latest information about coronavirus including how you can get involved and help your community, and how to help your wellbeing during these uncertain times. 

Find out more