People at higher risk from Coronavirus

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Important update - The government's guidance has been updated with effect from 2nd December 2020. The information on this page is being reviewed. For up to date guidance see gov.uk

The government’s guidance has been updated to support the clinically extremely vulnerable, previously referred to as those on the shielding list.

The new guidance replaces previous guidance on shielding. For up to date information from the government see Guidance on shielding and protecting people who are clinically extremely vulnerable from COVID-19.

Letters are being sent to residents to notify them if they are clinically extremely vulnerable.

What support is available to people who are clinically extremely vulnerable?

If you are classed as clinically extremely vulnerable, you can register to:

  • get access to priority supermarket deliveries
  • ask someone to contact you about any local support that's available

You are encouraged to register with the service even if you don’t  currently require support. To register or update your details for this service, see Get support if you're clinically extremely vulnerable.


You are advised not to go to the shops. Use online shopping if you can, or ask others to collect and deliver shopping for you (friends, family, or a volunteer). For details of local businesses and voluntary organisations offering deliveries, see help to get food.

If you already have a priority delivery slot with a supermarket that will continue, you do not need to do anything further. If you need to register or update your details for priority deliveries, see Get support if you're clinically extremely vulnerable.


You are advised not to go to a pharmacy.

You are encouraged in the first instance to ask a friend, family member, carer or a volunteer (for example one of the NHS Volunteer Responders) to collect your medicines for you. If none of these are available, then you will be eligible for free medicines delivery. Please contact your pharmacy to inform them that you are clinically extremely vulnerable and need your medicines delivered, and they will arrange this free of charge.

Health care

Any essential carers or visitors who support you with your everyday needs can continue to visit unless they have any of the symptoms of COVID-19 (a new continuous cough, a high temperature, or a loss of, or change in, their normal sense of taste or smell).

People in the clinically extremely vulnerable group should continue to access the NHS services they need during this time.

This may be delivered in a different way or in a different place than they are used to, for example via an online consultation, but if they do need to go to hospital or attend another health facility for planned care, extra planning and protection will be put in place.

Flu vaccinations

Anyone who is on the Clinically Extremely Vulnerable list should have a seasonal fu vaccination. Please see information on the target groups for vaccination.

Please contact your GP if you have not already had a flu vaccination this year.

Mental health support

It is normal during these uncertain and unusual times to feel anxious or feel low.

Follow the advice that works for you in the guidance on how to look after your mental health and wellbeing during coronavirus (COVID-19).

The Every Mind Matters page on anxiety and NHS mental wellbeing audio guides provide further information on how to manage anxiety.

If you feel you need to talk to someone about your mental health or you are looking for more support for someone else, we would urge you to speak to a GP and seek out mental health support delivered by charities or the NHS.

You can also view our page on Health, wellbeing and learning resources to use at home.


Clinically extremely vulnerable people are advised to work from home where possible. If you cannot work from home, then you should not attend work for this period of restrictions.

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 on 0300 123 1100.

To find out what financial support is available, see Financial support for residents.


Speak to your GP or specialist clinician if you have not already done so, to understand whether your child should still be classed as clinically extremely vulnerable.

Those children whose doctors have confirmed they are still clinically extremely vulnerable are advised not to attend school whilst this advice is in place. Your school will make appropriate arrangements for you to be able to continue your education at home. Children who live with someone who is clinically extremely vulnerable, but who are not clinically extremely vulnerable themselves, should still attend school.


You should avoid all non-essential travel by private or public transport, this includes not travelling to work, school or the shops. You should still travel to hospital and GP appointments unless told otherwise by your doctor. If you need help to travel to an appointment, you can speak to your health care professional to arrange transport support. They can arrange this with NHS Volunteer Responders.

If you require additional support

It is important that you continue to receive the care and support you need to help you stay safe and well.

Providers of social care and medical services are making every effort to ensure services remain open and as safe as possible.

You should 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.

To find out more visit www.nhs.uk/health-at-home, or download the NHS App. If you have an urgent medical need, call NHS 111 or, for a medical emergency, dial 999.

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.

Any carers or visitors who support you with your everyday needs can continue to visit. They should follow social distancing guidance where close or personal contact is not required.

If your carer is a paid carer visiting you in your home, they will find information on the provision of home care and personal protective equipment (PPE) in the provision of home care guidance and PPE for care workers delivering homecare guidance. If you provide unpaid care, visit the Guidance for those who provide unpaid care to friends or family.

You should continue to access support from local charities and organisations.