The Government has advised that people who are Clinically Extremely Vulnerable should shield, once again, as we enter the third national lockdown.
This includes people who have one or more conditions listed below, or who have been added to the list by the GP or clinician.
People with the following conditions are automatically deemed clinically extremely vulnerable (CEV):
- solid organ transplant recipients
- people with specific cancers:
- people with cancer who are undergoing active chemotherapy
- people with lung cancer who are undergoing radical radiotherapy
- people with cancers of the blood or bone marrow such as leukaemia, lymphoma or myeloma who are at any stage of treatment
- people having immunotherapy or other continuing antibody treatments for cancer
- people having other targeted cancer treatments that can affect the immune system, such as protein kinase inhibitors or PARP inhibitors
- people who have had bone marrow or stem cell transplants in the last 6 months or who are still taking immunosuppression drugs
- people with severe respiratory conditions including all cystic fibrosis, severe asthma and severe chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD)
- people with rare diseases that significantly increase the risk of infections (such as severe combined immunodeficiency (SCID), homozygous sickle cell disease)
- people on immunosuppression therapies sufficient to significantly increase risk of infection
- problems with your spleen, for example splenectomy (having your spleen removed)
- adults with Down’s syndrome
- adults on dialysis or with chronic kidney disease (stage 5)
- women who are pregnant with significant heart disease, congenital or acquired
- other people who have also been classed as clinically extremely vulnerable, based on clinical judgement and an assessment of their needs. GPs and hospital clinicians have been provided with guidance to support these decisions
List from the Gov.uk website.
This time, the shielding advice does not apply to people in a household with someone who is CEV.
People who are CEV will get priority access to vaccinations against COVID-19, and will be contacted by the NHS with more information on when and how you will be invited to receive the vaccine.
GPs are currently being overwhelmed by people calling to ask about their vaccinations, so please wait to hear.
What can CEV people do, or not do?
Everyone will be staying at home except for specific reasons, and not gathering with those they do not live with.
People who are CEV are advised to stay at home as much as possible
They are still permitted to exercise outside and meet one other person for exercise, as per the normal national guidelines.
They can attend health appointments, but are advised to avoid contact with others outside their households, as much as possible.
People who are CEV can still meet with others in their support bubble.
They are advised to try and remain 2 metres away from others even within their households, especially if they have COVID symptoms, or have been advised to self-isolate.
Shopping and prescription collection
CEV people are advised not to go to the shops in person, but to arrange delivery, or ask someone to collect shopping for them. Anyone who does not have a friend or family member available to do this should contact Volunteer Cornwall, and they will arrange someone who can collect shopping, prescriptions, etc.
People who are CEV also qualify for priority delivery slots from their local supermarket. This can be done on the supermarket’s own website, and requires the individual’s NHS number.
Pharmacies can deliver for free to CEV people, if no-one can collect a prescription for them.
People who are CEV are strongly advised to work from home, and not to attend work if it is not possible to carry out at home.
If you need support to work at home 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 cannot make alternative arrangements, your employer may be able to furlough you under the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme, which has been extended until the end of April 2021. You should have a conversation with your employer about whether this is possible.
As you are being advised not to attend work, you may be eligible for Statutory Sick Pay (SSP) or Employment Support Allowance (ESA). The formal shielding letter you receive will act as evidence for your employer and the Department of Work and Pensions that you are advised to shield and may be eligible for SSP or ESA. Members of the household who are not clinically extremely vulnerable should continue to attend work if they are unable to work from home, in line with the wider rules set out in the national lockdown guidance.
Children and young people
Due to greater understanding of how COVID-19 is transmitted, many children and young people who were initially advised to shield, are now no longer categorised as CEV. Some parents will have had conversations with their children’s clinicians to discuss this, and if those children are still at risk, they should follow the CEV guidelines, above. CEV children should not attend school in person.