COVID-19: guidance on shielding and protecting people defined on medical grounds as extremely vulnerable

Information for shielding and protecting people defined on medical grounds as extremely vulnerable from COVID-19.



This guidance is for people in England who have been identified as clinically extremely vulnerable in relation to COVID-19. If you are in this group, you will previously have received a letter from the NHS or from your GP telling you that you are clinically extremely vulnerable. You may have been identified through COVID-19 Population Risk Assessment or you may have been advised to shield in the past.

The guidance advises people who are clinically extremely vulnerable of the precautions that they should continue to take to protect themselves, in addition to the rules that are in place for everyone.

The government issued a letter to all clinically extremely vulnerable people on 17 March 2021. Accessible versions of the letter can also be viewed online.

The translations and easy read have been removed temporarily.

Published 21 March 2020
Last updated 1 April 2021 + show all updates
  1. Translations and easy read temporarily removed.

  2. Removed references to national lockdown, updated guidance to reflect lifting of restrictions and vaccine roll out.

  3. Updated translations. Added link to new letter to all people on the Shielded Patient List that takes effect from 1 April 2021.

  4. Updated guidance to reflect new shielding end date, and updated shopping and support sections.

  5. Updated definition of clinically extremely vulnerable groups.

  6. Added Easy read version.

  7. Added Arabic, Bengali, Bulgarian, Chinese, French, Gujarati, Hindi, Nepali, Polish, Portuguese, Punjabi and Urdu translations.

  8. Added British Sign Language and audio versions.

  9. Added large print version.

  10. Updated guidance for the period of national lockdown.

  11. Removed advice on Christmas.

  12. Updated easy-read guidance. Temporarily removed translations, British Sign Language videos, audio and large print versions.

  13. Updated to clarify rules in Tier 4 on socialising outdoors.

  14. Added new shielding advice for the clinically extremely vulnerable in Tier 4.

  15. Added the easy-read version.

  16. Added British Sign Language videos, large print, audio and translated versions.

  17. Updated guidance with information on local restrictions from 2 December. Removed easy-read and translated versions.

  18. Added 2 December guidance.

  19. Added updated translations in Arabic, Bengali, Bulgarian, Simplified Chinese, Traditional Chinese, French, Gujarati, Hindi, Nepali, Polish, Portuguese, Punjabi and Urdu.

  20. Removed reference letters and included link to COVID-19: letters to clinically extremely vulnerable people.

  21. Added updated easy-read guidance.

  22. Updated information on the extension of the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme (on furlough).

  23. Added 2 reference letters and updated guidance on how to get a test for COVID-19.

  24. Updated guidance in line with national restrictions commencing 5 November 2020. Easy-read guidance temporarily removed and will be updated shortly.

  25. Added updated easy-read guidance.

  26. Added search by postcode link.

  27. Guidance updated regarding local COVID alert levels. Temporarily removed translations, easy-read guide and guidance for young people.

  28. Remove reference to falling case rates.

  29. Updated translated versions.

  30. Added new guidance for young people who are clinically extremely vulnerable and have been shielding.

  31. Updated translations and added Bulgarian, Hindi and Nepali.

  32. Added new version of easy-read guidance.

  33. Added paragraph clarifying the position for travelling to work in local lockdown areas.

  34. Removed out-of-date guidance for young people.

  35. Main guidance updated to include information related to the pausing of shielding.

  36. Added updated translations.

  37. Updated local guidance link to point to Leicester City Council page.

  38. Added link to local lockdowns guidance.

  39. Updated guidance to include clinical risk to children and young people. These changes apply from 6 July 2020.

  40. Updated guidance with changes that apply from 6 July 2020.

  41. Updated guidance on shielding and social distancing.

  42. Easy-read guidance added.

  43. Updated guidance.

  44. Updated guidance for young people to reflect that those who are shielding can now leave their homes.

  45. Updated guidance in line with changes to the regulations which come into force on 1 June 2020.

  46. Updated guidance.

  47. Updated information on symptoms.

  48. Added translated guidance.

  49. Updated 'Shielding and protecting people who are clinically extremely vulnerable from COVID-19'.

  50. Added translated guidance.

  51. Added Coronavirus (COVID-19): an easy-read guide on protecting extremely vulnerable people.

  52. First published.