Important guidance for clinically extremely vulnerable people from the government, 18 Feb 2021
Link: Other language versions, plus easy read, BSL and large print versions available here
We are writing to you as you have previously been identified as someone thought to be clinically extremely vulnerable and at high risk of becoming very unwell if you catch COVID19. We wrote to you last month advising you to follow shielding guidance until 21 February.
We are now extending that guidance and advising you to shield until 31 March 2021. We will write to you again in mid-March with further advice. Whilst the national lockdown has been effective and cases of COVID-19 are now falling, the levels of infection in the community remain high and the virus continues to pose a high risk to people across the country. The risk remains particularly high for those considered clinically extremely vulnerable.
Therefore, the Government strongly advises you to continue to follow the shielding measures that were introduced in January to help you protect yourself. More information on the guidance and the support available to you can be found on GOV.UK, or in your previous letter dated 7 January 2021 if you received one.
You are advised to stay at home as much as possible, although you can still go outdoors carefully to exercise or to attend health appointments. You are strongly encouraged to work from home if you can. If you cannot work from home then you should not attend work.
Whilst you are strongly advised to follow these extra precautionary shielding measures to help keep yourself safe, this remains guidance, not the law. You must, however, follow the lockdown rules that apply to everyone.
Please make sure your GP has your most up to date contact details, including your home address and, if possible, a personal email address, so that we can contact you quickly in the event that the guidance changes in the future.
This letter can be used as evidence for your employer and the Department for Work and Pensions to show that you cannot work outside your home until at least 31 March 2021, including for Statutory Sick Pay (SSP) and Employment and Support Allowance (ESA) purposes.
If you need support to help you follow the guidance, especially if you are unable to arrange this yourself or through friends, family, or other support networks, your local council may be able to help. You can contact your council and register for support or request priority access to a supermarket delivery slot at the Shielding Support website: www.gov.uk/coronavirus-shielding-support.
If you already have priority access to a supermarket delivery slot that will continue – you do not need to do anything further.
You are advised not to go to shops or pharmacies. Instead try to shop online, ask family or friends to collect shopping for you or get help with food and medicine deliveries from NHS Volunteer Responders.
It is also really important to continue to look after your mental health. The Every Mind Matters website is accessible 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.
Clinically extremely vulnerable adults are receiving priority access to vaccination against COVID-19 before the general population. The vaccine is likely to make an important contribution towards protecting you from COVID-19. People are being contacted about vaccinations by the NHS, but if you have not been offered a vaccination, we are now asking you to come forward to book a vaccination.
The easiest way to arrange a vaccination is through the national booking service which can be accessed at www.nhs.uk/covid-vaccination. The system allows patients to choose a time slot and location that suits them. Anyone unable to book online can call 119 free of charge, anytime between 7am and 11pm seven days a week. If a suitable and convenient slot is not available, you can also call your GP practice.
Even if you have had both doses of the vaccine, you should continue to follow this shielding guidance as we continue to assess the impact of vaccination among all groups. The people you live with should continue to follow the public health rules and guidance as long as they
are in place, regardless of whether you or they have received the vaccine.
We will continue to update you as the situation changes and, once again, we thank you for your efforts to keep yourself and others safe.
MATT HANCOCK & ROBERT JENRICK
Secretary of State for Health and Social Care Secretary of State for Housing,
Communities and Local Government