NEW SHIELDING LETTERS – FEBRUARY 2021

The government and NHS England have extended shielding nationally until the 31st march 2021.

The following information is from the UK government.

As we learn more about covid-19, so too does our definition of who is clinically vulnerable evolve. With over 1 million more patients being sent shielding letters for the first time.

The clinically extremely vulnerable will get priority access to vaccination against covid-19 before the general population and in line with the priority ordering set by the Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation (JCVI). Patients will be contacted again by NHS England with more information on when and how you will be invited to get the vaccine. You do not need to call your GP.

Patients are strongly advised to work from home. If you cannot work from home, then you should not attend work.

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.

People who are defined as clinically extremely vulnerable are thought to be at very high risk of serious illness from coronavirus. There are 3 ways you may be identified as clinically extremely vulnerable:

1.You have one or more of the conditions listed below.*

2.You have been identified through the COVID-19 Population Risk Assessment as potentially being at high risk of serious illness if you catch the virus.

3.Your clinician or GP has added you to the Shielded Patient List because, based on their clinical judgement, they deem you to be at high risk of serious illness if you catch the virus.

Even if clinically extremely vulnerable patients have had both doses of the vaccine, they are still recommended to follow this shielding advice until vaccine effectiveness has been formally assessed.

individuals on the SPL will receive updated advice by letter before 31 March.

 *List of conditions

•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

For more information, please visit.

gov.uk/government/publications/guidance-on-shielding-and-protecting-extremely-vulnerable-persons-from-covid-19/guidance-on-shielding-and-protecting-extremely-vulnerable-persons-from-covid-19