Shielding information for people who are clinically extremely vulnerable

Shielding has been reinstated for people who are clinically extremely vulnerable to COVID-19.

If you are clinically extremely vulnerable to COVID-19, the NHS will have sent you a letter to confirm that shielding has restarted.

Government guidance sets out the steps you're recommended to take to reduce the risk of infection during lockdown and keep yourself safe, including information on:

  • work
  • education
  • travel
  • shopping
  • socialising

This guidance is in addition to the national restrictions that apply.

Read the guidance for those who are clinically extremely vulnerable

Why has shielding been reintroduced? 

Shielding has been reintroduced because the alert level has changed to a national lockdown.

The national lockdown is in place due to rising infection rates across the country, particularly associated with a new strain of the virus which is more contagious. 

What advice applies to clinically extremely vulnerable people during lockdown?

The headlines from the Government stay at home guidance for clinically extremely vulnerable people are:


  • stay at home as much as possible
  • still go outside for exercise, but avoid busy areas and keep your distance


  • stay at home as much as possible
  • avoid travel unless it's essential - a health appointment, for example

Work and school

  • work from home if possible
  • if you cannot work from home, speak to your employer about taking on an alternative role or changing your working patterns temporarily. If this is not suitable, you may be able to furlough or eligible to claim Statutory Sick Pay (SSP) or Employment Support Allowance (ESA)
  • do not attend school - make alternative study arrangements with your school or college

Going to the shops or pharmacy

  • you are advised not to go to the shops, even for essentials
  • use online shopping if possible, or ask friends and family to help deliver shopping or collect medicines for you
  • if you need assistance, NHS Volunteer Responders can support you - call 0808 196 3646 (8am to 8pm, seven days a week)
  • if you have an urgent welfare need you can also contact us.

When Government decide to halt shielding, they will write to advise you of this.

Remember - this guidance is in addition to the national restrictions that apply

If you need help...

If you need additional help to follow the clinically extremely vulnerable guidance or meet your wellbeing needs, you can register to use the new government service.

This service allows you to:

  • ask for priority supermarket delivery slots (if you've already got priority for supermarket deliveries, you'll keep this)
  • let us know if you need support and are unable to arrange this yourself, or with the help of friends, family or other support
  • confirm your details are correct - your address, for example

If you need help to get food and medicines, these services are available to you:

 Your health

It's important that you get support for any health conditions or concerns you may have. These are some of the services available to you:

Page updated: 20 January 2021


Here are links to the national guidance for carers to follow during the COVID-19 pandemic: