Are you in a high risk group?
If you have been identified as clinically extremely vulnerable you will have received a letter from the NHS or your GP telling you this.
The government has updated its advice for the clinically extremely vulnerable.
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. The government is no longer advising people 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.
Although the advice to shield has ended, clinically extremely vulnerable people must continue to follow the rules that are in place for everyone.
Everyone on the Shielded Patient List should already have been offered a Covid-19 vaccine. If you have not yet received your first dose, please contact your GP. 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.
No vaccine is 100% effective so even if you have had both doses, there is still no absolute guarantee that you will not become ill from Covid-19. You should continue to take the extra precautions set out in the government guidance to help protect yourself.
Socialising inside and outside the home
You should continue to maintain social distancing when both indoors and outdoors. However, you do not need to socially distance from members of your household or support bubble.
Continue to minimise the number of social interactions that you have, while also observing the rules on meeting people you do not live with. The fewer social interactions you have, the lower your risk of catching Covid-19. Your risk of catching Covid-19 is also lower if you meet with others outdoors rather than indoors. Please see the Covid-19: ventilation of indoor spaces guidance for more information.
Try to reduce the amount of time you spend in settings where you are unable to maintain social distancing, or where other people’s activities may reduce their likelihood of maintaining social distancing.
Everyone is currently advised to work from home where possible.
If you cannot work from home, the government is no longer advising that you do not attend the workplace. Your employer is required to take steps to reduce the risk of exposure to Covid-19 in the workplace and should be able to explain to you the measures they have put in place to keep you safe at work.
If you need to use public transport, you must wear a face covering unless you are exempt. Consider travelling outside peak hours to reduce the number of people you come into contact with.
Going to shops and pharmacies
While you are not advised to avoid going to the shops, you may wish to continue using online delivery for food and essential shopping, or to ask family and friends for help. 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 using the Shielding Support website the participating supermarkets will continue to offer priority access until 21 June. After this date individuals can continue to book deliveries from a supermarket.
If you need additional care and support
You should also 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 on the NHS website, or download the NHS App. If you have an urgent medical need, call NHS 111 or, for a medical emergency, dial 999.
You should continue to access support from local charities and organisations, as well as NHS Volunteer Responders. As well as helping with shopping and medicines delivery, NHS Volunteer Responders can help with a regular, friendly phone call, either with someone else who has previously been advised to shield or with different volunteers and transport to medical appointments.
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. If you or someone you care for are experiencing a mental health crisis, we urge you to make contact with a local health professional immediately.