Covid: Extra 1.7m vulnerable added to shielding list
There is to be a large expansion of the number of people being asked to shield in England, the government has announced.
An extra 1.7 million people are expected to be added to the 2.3 million already on the list.
Half the group have not yet been vaccinated so will now be prioritised urgently by their local GPs.
It comes after a new model was developed that takes into account extra factors rather than just health.
This calculation includes things like ethnicity, deprivation and weight to work out a person’s risk of becoming seriously ill if they were to catch Covid.
- Do people have to shield?
At the moment only those with specific conditions or undergoing certain types of treatment have been advised to shield.
They include adults with Down’s Syndrome, organ donor recipients and people with severe respiratory conditions.
The new model was developed following work by Oxford University which looked at the characteristics of people who died in the first wave.
Medical records have been searched to identify high risk patients now and they are now being sent letters informing of them of their new status, which means they are entitled to statutory sick pay, prioritisation for online shopping slots and help collecting medicines.
Bumped up the list
Of the 1.7 million, around 900,000 have already received an offer of a vaccination because they were over 70.
The remainder are all thought to fall into one of the priority groups that are being invited for vaccination next.
They will be bumped up the list first for a jab, the government said.
It means if they will have received the offer a few weeks later than if they had been in the shielding group originally.
Shielding was re-introduced in tier four areas from mid December, before being expanded nationally once the third lockdown was announced in early January.
Unlike in the first lockdown, people who are shielding are being advised they can leave their homes for exercise.
Deputy chief medical officer for England Dr Jenny Harries said: “This action ensures those most vulnerable to Covid can benefit from both the protection that vaccines provide and from enhanced advice and support should they choose it.”
The model has been shared with the devolved nations. It is being left up to them to decide what to do with it.
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Published at Tue, 16 Feb 2021 14:00:10 +0000