Advice for people previously considered clinically extremely vulnerable from Covid-19

Guidance and support for people previously considered clinically extremely vulnerable.

This advice is for anyone in the borough who was previously considered clinically extremely vulnerable from Covid-19 or who was shielding. If you were in this group, you should have received a letter from the Department of Health & Social Care (DHSC), dated 17 September 2021, stating that in future you will not be advised to shield, nor provided with specific national guidance to follow. 

Updated advice

Keep following the same general Covid-19 guidance as everyone else, on top of any recent advice for your condition from your specialist. General Covid-19 advice can be found at GOV.UK.

Your DHSC letter has answers to frequently asked questions and lists extra things you can consider doing to protect yourself. These may include: 

  • considering whether you and those you are meeting have been vaccinated – you might want to wait until 14 days after someone’s second dose of a Covid-19 vaccine before being in close contact with them.
  • considering continuing to practise social distancing if that feels right for you and your friends
  • avoiding crowded spaces
  • asking friends and family to take a rapid test before visiting you. See our website information on how to get tests
  • asking home visitors to your home – especially those not part of your immediate circle of family and friends – to wear face coverings 
  • avoiding crowded spaces
  • avoiding contact with anyone who has symptoms of Covid-19, even if they have a negative rapid test, as it can take a few days to develop a positive result

Find out more at GOV.UK.

Covid-19 vaccination 

Vaccination provides good protection against the virus to most people considered at high risk from Covid-19, including those who are immunosuppressed. 

It’s never too late to get fully vaccinated if you haven’t already – you can do this as soon as you feel ready. Book your appointment online, call 119 or visit one of the walk-in clinics available across south-east London. 

If you’re at high risk from Covid-19 and have received your first and second doses, the Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation has recommended that you should be offered a third dose – a Covid-19 booster vaccine. You’ll be invited to book your booster by the NHS at least 6 months after your second dose if it is recommended for you.

It is important that: 

  • you have both doses of the vaccine. Having both should increase your level of protection. For some people with suppressed immune systems, a significant immune response may only occur after the second dose
  • other members of your household get vaccinated, as this will lower your chances of getting the virus
  • you have a booster dose if it is offered to you in the coming months, to  increase your level of protection
  • if you are one of a small number of immunosuppressed people who may be less well protected by the vaccines, you contact your GP or specialist to discuss this if you haven’t already. It is likely you are already aware of your status, have always been at risk of infectious disease and, pre-pandemic, would have had to make individual risk assessments in consultation with your GP or specialist

Testing

It’s important that you book a Covid-19 PCR test if you think you may have symptoms of Covid-19.

If you test positive you will need to self-isolate for 10 days, even if you’re vaccinated. 

If you have been in contact with someone testing positive for Covid-19, you no longer have to self-isolate if you’ve been fully (double) vaccinated and do not have Covid-19 symptoms; but you should take a PCR test to confirm if you are positive or negative.

Further advice and support

If you’re concerned about your wellbeing because of Covid-19, you can find out more on the NHS website. You can also contact your GP or specialist, who can provide you with more advice that is specific to your condition.

If you or someone you know requires support and cannot rely on friends, family or neighbours please see our web page Practical help during Covid-19, where you can find contact details for a number of services.

We urge you to continue to use the NHS services you need, including urgent and emergency services. You can easily access NHS services via the NHS app or nhs.uk/health-at-home.