Around 1.7 million people are to be added to the shielding list in England after it was discovered that they are potentially at serious risk from COVID-19.
Individuals identified as being at serious risk will be contacted in the coming days by the NHS. These individuals will be advised to ‘shield’ from the virus and will also be moved up the vaccination priority list if they have not already been offered a Coronavirus jab.
Here’s a look at why so many more people are being asked to shield…
What is ‘shielding’?
Shielding from coronavirus is the practice of people staying at home as much as possible and minimising all face-to-face contact with others. People who are shielding are advised to work from home and not attend their workplace, even if working from home is not possible. People who are shielding are also advised to avoid going to the shops and instead shop online or rely on the help of friends or volunteers.
People are advised to shield where there are added to the Shielded Patients List by their clinician or GP, or because they have one or more condition which may make them more at risk from COVID-19.
People on the Shielded Patients List are also described as the ‘clinically extremely vulnerable’. The Government’s full advice on shielding can be found here.
Why are more people being advised to shield?
The new advice is based on a new algorithm model which considers coronavirus outcomes from the first wave of the pandemic.
The new model has been developed by the New and Emerging Respiratory Virus Threats Advisory Group (Nervtag) and Oxford University. Some of the factors considered in the algorithm include;
- Body Mass Index (BMI)
- Presence of Health Conditions
Due to limited information being known about the COVID-19 virus at the start of the pandemic, it has taken experts some time to learn more about which people may be most at risk from the virus.
When can these people get vaccinated against the virus?
Of the 1.7 million people being advised to shield themselves from the virus, around 820,000 are yet to be vaccinated. These individuals will be moved up the priority list for receiving a Coronavirus vaccination and are to be offered jabs as soon as possible.
Under current guidance, people who are shielding should continue to do so even when they have had the vaccine.
If one person in a household is shielding, the whole household should shield.