Shielding Advice Update 21st December 2020

This update kindly provided by the Specialised Healthcare Alliance.

 The Government has published new guidance today for clinically extremely vulnerable (CEV) people living in areas of the country designated as ‘tier 4’ category of Covid-19 infection risk. 


  •  Shielding support has been reinstated for CEV people living in tier 4 areas, which will be made available from local councils and community pharmacies. This includes support for shopping and medicines delivery. You can sign up for support here
  • If you cannot work from home, then you should not attend work. If your employer can’t adjust your role to work from home, then a number of financial support options are available, including the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme, Statutory Sick Pay (SSP) or Employment Support Allowance (ESA)
  • CEV children should not attend school if advised to stay home by their doctor. However, other children in the household who are not CEV should continue to attend school, and children whose parents or caregivers are CEV should are also still currently advised to go to school.*

*There has been some suggestion by scientists in the media that the new strain of the virus may be more transmissible in children. Research into this is currently ongoing, and we will keep you updated on any developments.


Update kindly provided by the Specialised Healthcare Alliance on 2nd December 2020.

Following this morning’s announcement that the MHRA has approved the first COVID-19 vaccine for use in the UK, developed by Pfizer/BioNTech, the Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation (JCVI) has now published its advice here on priority groups for the vaccine. It is worth noting that the prioritisation differs slightly from the JCVI’s interim advice on priority groups published in September, with high risk adults and the clinically extremely vulnerable now slightly higher in the prioritisation list. The final list of priority groups are now prioritised as follow:

  1. Residents in a care home for older adults and their carers
  2. All those 80 years of age and over. Frontline health and social care workers
  3. All those 75 years of age and over
  4. All those 70 years of age and over. Clinically extremely vulnerable individuals
  5. All those 65 years of age and over
  6. All individuals aged 16 years to 64 years with underlying health conditions which put them at higher risk of serious disease and mortality
  7. All those 60 years of age and over
  8. All those 55 years of age and over
  9. All those 50 years of age and over

The Government’s guidance on the clinically extremely vulnerable (CEV) is described here. The advice on vaccination does not include pregnant women and those under the age of 16 years because there is limited or no data on the safety of the vaccinations in these groups at this time.

The JCVI advises that only those children at very high risk of exposure and serious outcomes from COVID-19, such as older children with severe neuro-disabilities that require residential care, should be offered vaccination and the potential risks should be discussed with the child’s clinical team.

On CEV adults, the advice notes many individuals who are CEV will have some degree of immunosuppression or be immunocompromised and may not respond as well to the vaccine. The advice therefore says those who are clinically extremely vulnerable should continue to follow Government advice on reducing their risk of infection.

On households of people who are CEV, the advice says once sufficient evidence becomes available on the value of indirect protection the JCVI will consider options for a “cocooning strategy” for immunosuppressed individuals, including whether any specific vaccine is preferred in this population.

For people aged 16-64 with underlying health conditions, the JCVI say they had good evidence that the absolute increased risk of this group is lower than the increased risk in people over the age of 65 years. The list of underlying health conditions included is described in the JCVI’s statement, and copied at the bottom of this email.

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