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Advice for clinically extremely vulnerable

Important information for those who were previously considered clinically extremely vulnerable (shielding) in Leicester.

End of the shielding programme

The shielding programme has now ended in England. This means that people who were previously considered clinically extremely vulnerable (CEV) will not be advised to shield in the future or follow specific national guidance.

If this applies to you, you will receive a letter from the government informing you of these changes (PDF) and offering further information on support available.

The situation is now very different to when shielding was first introduced at the start of the pandemic. We know a lot more about the virus and what makes someone more or less vulnerable to COVID-19, the vaccine continues to be successfully rolled out, and other treatments and interventions are becoming available. 

You should continue to follow the same general guidance as everyone else, which can be found on our latest advice page as well as GOV.UK. You should also continue to follow any condition specific advice you may have been given by your specialist in recent weeks. As someone with a health condition you might also want to think about extra things you can do to keep yourself and others safe. This could include:

  • considering whether you and those you are meeting have been vaccinated – you might want to wait until 14 days after everyone’s second dose of a COVID-19 vaccine before being in close contact with others
  • considering continuing to practice social distancing if that feels right for you and your friends
  • asking friends and family to take a rapid lateral flow antigen test before visiting you
  • asking home visitors to wear face coverings
  • avoiding crowded spaces.

COVID-19 vaccinations

The latest information that we have suggests that having two doses of a COVID-19 vaccine reduces the severity of the illness if you catch the virus.

There are a small number of immunocompromised or immunosuppressed people who may be less well protected by the vaccines. Those individuals should know who they are, will always have been at risk of infectious disease and, pre-pandemic. They would have had to make individual risk assessments in consultation with their GP or clinician. If this applies to you then you should get in contact with your GP or specialist to discuss this further.

All vaccines offer some level of protection, so you should still get vaccinated against COVID-19 even if you are immunocompromised or immunosuppressed.

Booster vaccinations

Based on existing evidence, the Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation (JCVI) advise that COVID-19 booster vaccines will be offered to the most vulnerable starting from September 2021. The vast majority of people who were on the shielding patients list will therefore be eligible for a booster vaccine.

The booster dose will further increase your level of protection. You should take this when it is offered to you. It aims to provide additional resilience against variants, and maximise protection in those who are the most vulnerable ahead of the winter months, when there is increased pressure on the NHS as non-COVID-19 emergency demand is at its highest.

More details on booster vaccinations can be found at GOV.UK.

Children and young people

Recent clinical studies have shown that children and young people are at very low risk of serious illness if they catch the virus. Therefore, they are no longer considered to be clinically extremely vulnerable and should continue to follow the same guidance as everyone else. However, if your child has been advised to isolate or reduce their social contact for short periods of time due to the nature of their medical condition or treatment, rather than because of the pandemic, you should continue to follow the advice of your child's specialist.

Healthcare

The NHS is open you should continue to access all the NHS services that you need. It is safer for you to use the NHS than to try to manage alone. You can also quickly and easily access a range of NHS services from home, including ordering repeat prescriptions or having an online appointment.

Mental health

It is also really important to look after your mental health. You can access the Every Mind Matters website for advice and practical steps that you can take to support your wellbeing and manage your mental health.

You can also access the Hub of Hope which tells you about support available in your area by entering your postcode.

If you or someone you care for is experiencing a mental health crisis, contact a local health professional immediately. If you don’t have a health professional that you talk to regularly about your mental health, free NHS 24/7 crisis hotlines are available in every part of the country. You can find your local service at NHS.UK

Other support available

You can contact the NHS Volunteer Responder scheme for help collecting shopping, medicine or other essential supplies, or just for someone to talk to. You can call them free on 0808 1963646 between 8am and 8pm.

Alternatively, you can contact us if you are concerned or need help, please fill out our online form or email c19support@leicester.gov.uk.