Shielding is a measure to protect people who are clinically extremely vulnerable by minimising all interaction between those who are extremely vulnerable and others.
The NHS and Public Health England are strongly advising people with serious underlying health conditions (listed below) which put them at very high risk of severe illness from coronavirus (COVID-19) to rigorously follow shielding measures in order to keep themselves safe.
What do we mean by extremely vulnerable?
People falling into this extremely vulnerable group include:
1. Solid organ transplant recipients
2. People with specific cancers:
· people with cancer who are undergoing active chemotherapy or radical radiotherapy for lung cancer
· 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 which 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
3. People with severe respiratory conditions including all cystic fibrosis, severe asthma and severe COPD.
4. People with rare diseases and inborn errors of metabolism that significantly increase the risk of infections (such as SCID, homozygous sickle cell).
5. People on immunosuppression therapies sufficient to significantly increase risk of infection.
6. Women who are pregnant with significant heart disease, congenital or acquired.
Shielding is for your personal protection; it is your choice to decide whether to follow the measures we advise. Individuals who have been given a prognosis of less than six months to live, and some others in special circumstances, could decide not to undertake shielding. This will be a deeply personal decision. You are advised to call your GP or specialist to discuss this.
The Government is acutely aware of the huge commitment and resolve it requires to keep away from family and friends. Unfortunately, the current level of transmission of the virus is such that the Government needs to continue to ask that the guidance is followed. In recognition of the challenge faced by those shielding, the Government is:
● Providing essential food to those unable to leave their home.
● Facilitating volunteer support
The Government is continuing to work to further support these groups, including by providing vital financial support to frontline charities working in these areas. The GOV.UK website provides information about the huge range of support that is available including from local authorities and the voluntary and community sector. The Government will continue to update GOV.UK as new services and support become available.
To receive coronavirus support as a clinically extremely vulnerable person or for someone in your household visit https://www.gov.uk/coronavirus-extremely-vulnerable