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Shielding To End For Clinically Vulnerable People

Shielding To End For Clinically Vulnerable People

Over 3.79 million clinically extremely vulnerable people in England are being informed that they are no longer advised to shield to protect themselves from Coronavirus from Thursday April 1st. However they have been advised to continue taking extra precautions, even as infection rates fall.

The government website GOV.UK tells us that people on the shielded patient list either already have or will be receiving letters with updated guidance on take steps to reduce their risk. More than nine out of ten people on this list have now been vaccinated with a first dose of a COVID-19 vaccine.

These steps include continuing to maintain strict social distancing and keeping overall social contacts at low levels, including working from home where possible.

You can see the government advice here. It was earlier planned as part of the COVID-19 Response – Spring 2021 setting up the roadmap out of lockdown.

Deputy Chief Medical Officer for England, Dr Jenny Harries, said: “We recognise how difficult this period has been for so many and the impact it has had on people’s wellbeing. With the prevalence of the virus in the community continuing to decrease now is the right time for people to start thinking about easing up on these more rigid guidelines. We will continue to monitor all of the evidence and adjust this advice should there be any changes in infection rates.”

Councils and supermarkets will continue to provide support for shielders until 31 March, with priority supermarket delivery slots continuing to be available until 21 June 2021 and Disability Rights UK is calling for governmnet information to be made clearer.

Their Head of Policy Fazilet Hadi said: “The formal ending of the shielding programme will affect people in different ways. Some will feel relief that an end is in sight for the mental torture of enforced isolation, while others will feel that there is no real change, as they haven’t had any meaningful support for several months.

“There is also a small pool of people who cannot have the vaccine for medical reasons who will now be left without any support, such as priority food deliveries after mid-June, and workers who may be called upon to return to work with no right to insist upon home working .

“The government needs to provide clear information to this pool of people on how their health can continue to be safeguarded while society returns to some sort of normal. People who still feel anxious or need some level of support, should talk to their GP, local authority and local voluntary services.” You can see the DRUK report here.

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