Register for coronavirus support as an extremely vulnerable person

Protecting people most at risk from COVID

New to shielding list – 16 February 2021

From 16 February, a new group of people will be sent a letter from the NHS or from their GP advising them to shield. Below are some answers to some questions you might have.

More information on help and support that might be available to you can be found in our Surrey Matters article 'Have you been asked to shield?'

The Government guidance on shielding can be found here GOV.UK guidance on shielding and protecting extremely vulnerable persons from COVID-19

Questions and Answers

1. What does Shielding mean?

Shielding is about minimising your risk of exposure to COVID-19. In practical terms, this means:
* do not leave your house except to exercise (with the people you live with or one person from your support bubble) or to attend health appointments including vaccination appointments
* do not attend work, school or university. Work from home where possible
* strictly avoid contact with someone who is displaying COVID-19 symptoms
* do not go out for shopping or to a pharmacy and when arranging food or medication deliveries, these should be left at the door to minimise contact
* do not travel

A benefit of being added to the Shielded Patient List means that you will get priority access to having a vaccination, if you haven't already been vaccinated.
It's important that you continue to receive the care and support you need to help you stay safe and well while you are shielding.

The Government has set up the National Shielding Support website, where you can register for support if you need it. Get support if you're clinically extremely vulnerable to coronavirus - GOV.UK (

2. Why have I been asked to shield?

A range of factors have been considered by the NHS which include age, gender, ethnicity, weight, health and lifestyle, as well as specific health conditions and treatments. It could be one, or a combination of these factors that mean you have been asked to shield.

3. How long will I have to shield for?

The advice is to shield and stay at home as much as possible until 31 March, except to exercise with the people you live with, or one person from your support bubble, or to attend health appointments (including vaccination appointments). The only people able to visit you at home are those in your support bubble.

4. Why now? A year into the pandemic.

As the pandemic continues, our understanding of the virus is getting better and better and scientists know more now than they did before. The COVID-19 outbreak is also a changing situation with new variants being discovered. New research has identified a number of characteristics that can better estimate the risk of someone catching and then becoming seriously ill from COVID-19. A new risk assessment tool, based on a model by the University of Oxford, is now using these characteristics to identify people who may be more vulnerable to the virus. This had led to the decision by the Government to advise more people to shield.

5. Do the people I live with also have to shield?

No - shielding guidance applies to Clinically Extremely Vulnerable individuals only, which includes the new group of people who have been added to the shielding list. Others living in the same household as someone who is clinically extremely vulnerable don't need to shield but they should continue to follow national lockdown guidance.

6. I've been vaccinated. Do I still need to shield?

Yes, you do. People on the shielding list are advised to shield even if they've already received two doses of the vaccine.

7. Does this mean I can't go to work?

If you've been asked to shield, you're strongly advised not to attend work and should work from home where possible. If you can't work from home and have received a formal shielding letter, you may be eligible for Statutory Sick Pay, Employment and Support Allowance, Universal Credit or the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme, and should discuss this with your employer.

8. If I can't leave the house, how do I get food shopping?

  • Wherever possible you should ask friends, family or neighbours who are well to go out and get food and essentials for you. If someone is going to the shops for you, most of the major supermarkets have ways you can pay for your shopping, such as e-vouchers or gift cards. You can buy these online and the person shopping for you can use them in store. To find out about payment options, visit your supermarket's website.
  • As you are on the shielded list, you can register on the national system for priority supermarket deliveries if you have access to the internet and are able to pay for your food:
  • If you don't have anyone to help you and don't want to/can't shop online, there may be community groups who can help in your area or your local shops may be able to provide orders for delivery (by phone or by email)
  • You could also get support from the NHS Volunteer Responders programme; you can call 0808 196 3646 and ask for help with food, prescriptions and essential items.
  • British Red Cross free Coronavirus support line is available if you need supplies 0808 196 3651 calls between 10am - 6pm. The shopping is done via their system, a link will be emailed to you which will enable you to write a shopping list, pay for a voucher and then a volunteer will go out and do the shopping for you and deliver it.

9. If I can't leave the house, how do I get my prescriptions and medicines?

Do you have any friends or family that are able to collect your prescription for you? If you don't, because you have been advised to shield you should contact your local pharmacy to explain that you have been identified as Clinically Extremely Vulnerable and need your medicines delivered, and they should arrange this for you free of charge.

Pharmacies have been commissioned to provide a home delivery service for all Clinically Extremely Vulnerable residents in Surrey. So you can receive your prescription medicines and appliances if you are unable to arrange for them to be picked up by anyone. This delivery service will be available until 31 March 2021.

The NHS Volunteer Scheme can also arrange for volunteers to pick up your medicines and deliver them to you. You can arrange this by calling 0808 196 3646 (8am to 8pm, 7 days a week).

10. Now I've been asked to shield, should my children go to nursery, school or college when they reopen?

Even if you are shielding, your child can still go to school or nursery. This is because there is evidence that children are less likely to catch the virus and that they are less likely to spread the virus within their household.
If you are worried, you should speak to your GP and/or your child's school to find out more about the safety measures they have put in place to reduce the risk of virus transmission. See the Surrey County Council guidance for children returning to nursery, school, colleges and child care on 8 March 2021.

Clinically Extremely Vulnerable and National Lockdown - January 2021

The advice for those residents who are considered Clinically Extremely Vulnerable (CEV) is that they should shield. A letter will be sent to you from the NHS or from your GP advising you to shield if you are CEV. The advice can be found in the "Shielding" section of the GOV.UK guidance on shielding and protecting extremely vulnerable persons from COVID-19.