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Advice for people clinically extremely vulnerable to coronavirus

If you’re in the shielding group or are vulnerable to coronavirus you may have concerns about the easing of restrictions and wish to know how to take extra precautions to keep yourself safe.

The government has published extra advice for people in the shielding group which we encourage you to read: 19 July guidance on protecting people who are clinically extremely vulnerable from COVID-19 (GOV.UK).

The guidance includes advice on things you may wish to think about, or do, like: 

  • Keeping your number of social interactions low
  • Taking precautions when you do socialise
  • Have both doses of the COVID-19 vaccine
  • Work from home if you can. If you can’t work from home, employers are required to take steps to keep you safe at work
  • Wearing a face covering
  • Going to shops and pharmacies at quieter times of day.

You can also find details of local advice and support available to you on this web page.

See also: Easy read COVID-19 guides – including advice for people clinically extremely vulnerable to coronavirus in East Sussex. These easy read guides help people with learning disabilities to understand the support available and the latest government COVID-19 rules.

What does clinically extremely vulnerable mean?

Read the definition of clinically extremely vulnerable on GOV.UK. People who are identified as clinically extremely vulnerable are on the Shielded Patient List.

If you’re clinically extremely vulnerable you should have received a letter confirming this or been told directly by your GP or hospital clinician.

COVID-19 vaccination

Everyone on the Shielded Patient List should already have been offered a COVID-19 vaccine. If you have not yet received your first dose, please contact your GP, book your vaccination appointment online or call 119. If you have received your first dose, you should still ensure you take up your second dose of the vaccine. Having 2 doses should further increase your level of protection. For some with immunosuppression it may only be with your second dose that a significant immune response is triggered.

Full information on when and how you can get your jab is available here: Sussex COVID-19 Vaccination Programme.

Getting help and advice

If you need help and support:

  • In the first instance, you should ask trusted family, friends or neighbours to collect or organise shopping for food and essentials, and medicine or prescription collection on your behalf.
  • The NHS Volunteer Responders (0808 196 3646) scheme is still running. Volunteers can help with things like collecting essential items and food. They may also be able to help with transport to medical appointments and set up regular contact over the phone with a friendly voice if you’re lonely or isolated.
  • Read advice on shopping and food delivery.
  • If you don’t have anyone you can ask for help, or need extra support, you can contact Health and Social Care Connect (HSCC) on 0345 60 80 191 (open 8am to 8pm, 7 days a week including bank holidays) or email Health and Social Care Connect.
  • If someone else can’t pick up your medicines on your behalf, you may want to arrange for them to be delivered to you by your pharmacy. This may involve a fee. Use the Find a Pharmacy Service to find a pharmacy near you.

You can also contact HSCC to ask for this information in any other language or in an accessible format, or use Google Translate.

For information on other community support available during the pandemic, including the 5 Community Hubs in East Sussex, visit the Community support pages.


If you’re struggling or worried about finances or debt:

If you need extra help or information, contact Health and Social Care Connect.

Extra support from energy suppliers

You can access additional support from your energy supplier. Energy suppliers are required by the regulator, Ofgem, to hold a register of customers in a vulnerable circumstance, called a Priority Service Register.

If you’re clinically extremely vulnerable you can be added to this register. For information about how to be added to the register and the additional services your supplier can provide you, please visit Ofgem’s website. You won’t need to provide evidence that you’re clinically extremely vulnerable.

Health and wellbeing

  • The NHS is open and you should continue to access all the NHS services that you need. It is safer for you to use the NHS than to try to manage alone. You can also access a range of NHS services from home or download the NHS App on your smartphones or tablet.
  • It’s also really important to look after your mental health. Go to the Every Mind Matters website for advice and practical steps that you can take to support your wellbeing and manage your mental health during this pandemic. For urgent or crisis support, call the Sussex Mental Healthline on 0800 0309 500 or visit Urgent help in a crisis. For more local services and advice go to the Mental Health Directory.
  • It’s still important to make sure your GP has your most up-to-date contact details, including home address and, if possible, a personal email address, so that you can be contacted quickly in the event that guidance changes in the future.
  • You should continue to receive support from social care if you require it.