Letter To Clincally Vulnerable With End of Shielding Advice

Guidance for clinically extremely vulnerable is changing from 1 April and the Government have sent the following letter to everyone who is on their shielding list. 

On 22 February the Government published a roadmap out of the national restrictions for the whole population, which explains how restrictions will be eased over time. As part of this roadmap, we can now inform you that from 1 April 2021 you are no longer advised to shield.

Since the national restrictions and shielding measures were introduced in January, cases of COVID-19 have fallen considerably across all parts of the country and over 22 million people have had at least one dose of the vaccine. We know that shielding has not been easy for you and we would like to thank you for your efforts during this challenging time.

Although clinically extremely vulnerable people will no longer be advised to shield, we still recommend that you take extra precautions to protect yourself while the virus is still spreading in our communities. The updated guidance provides practical steps that cover things like socialising, travel and going to work and school. These are not rules but advice, so you can choose whether you wish to follow them or not.

You can find the full guidance at the end of this letter and at www.gov.uk/coronavirus – In addition to this advice, you must continue to follow the regulations that are in place for everyone during the pandemic. This includes rules on mixing with people from other households.

Summary of advice that applies from 1 April 2021

Until the social distancing rules are eased more widely, it is important that you continue to keep the number of social interactions that you have low and try to reduce the amount of time you spend in settings where you are unable to maintain social distancing.

Everyone is advised to continue to work from home where possible, but if you cannot work from home you should now attend your workplace. Your employer is required to take steps to reduce the risk of exposure to COVID-19 in the workplace and should be able to explain to you the measures they have put in place to keep you safe at work.

The Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme (furlough) has been extended until 30 September as has the Self-Employment Income Support Scheme (SEISS). You may continue to be eligible throughout this period.

From 1 April you will no longer be eligible for Statutory Sick Pay (SSP) or Employment and Support Allowance (ESA) on the basis of being advised to shield. Clinically extremely vulnerable pupils and students should return to their school or other educational settings.

COVID-19 vaccinations

If you are aged 16 or older, you should already have been offered your first dose of the vaccine. If you have not yet received your first dose, please contact your GP. For children aged 12 to 15 years, vaccination may be appropriate for those with severe neuro-disabilities. This option should be discussed between parents/guardians and the child’s clinician or GP. For other children aged 15 and under, whilst further research is being done, vaccination is not yet recommended.

If you have received your first dose, you should still ensure you take up your second dose of the vaccine when it is offered to you. Having two doses should further increase your level of protection.

No vaccine is 100% effective and therefore even if you have had both doses, there is still no absolute guarantee that you will not become ill from COVID-19. Therefore, you should continue to take the extra precautions set out in this guidance to help protect yourself.

Access to support

Local councils and supermarkets will continue to provide support to follow shielding advice until 31 March. Councils will look to provide assistance wherever possible after that date and, if you have already registered for priority access to supermarket delivery slots, supermarkets will continue to offer priority access until 21 June. If you have yet to register for support but are in need, please do so online at
https://www.gov.uk/coronavirus-shielding-support by 31 March. If you do not have internet access, please contact your local council who will be able to connect you to the support that is available in your local area. After 31 March, if you are struggling as a result of Coronavirus please visit www.gov.uk/find-coronavirus-support or contact your local council to find out what support is available.

Access to health and care

Please remember that the NHS is open, and we urge you to continue to access all the NHS services that you need. It is likely to be safer for you to use the NHS than to try to manage alone. If you are concerned about the impact of COVID-19 on your health, speak to your GP, hospital clinician or use NHS111. Further information on accessing help and support can be found in the attached guidance.

Contacting you if this guidance changes in the future

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.