On the 23rd March 2020, Public Health England advised all patients at very high risk of severe illness from Coronavirus to practice “shielding”. This is to protect those patients’ who are clinically extremely vulnerable due to underlying health conditions.
People falling into this extremely vulnerable group include:
- Solid organ transplant recipients
- People with specific cancers:
- People with cancer who are undergoing active chemotherapy or radical radiotherapy for lung cancer.
- People with cancers of the blood or bone marrow such as leukaemia, lymphoma or myeloma who are at any stage of treatment.
- People having immunotherapy or other continuing antibody treatments for cancer.
- People having other targeted cancer treatments which can affect the immune system, such as protein kinase inhibitors or PARP inhibitors.
- People who have had bone marrow or stem cell transplants in the last 6 months, or who are still taking immunosuppression drugs.
- People with severe respiratory conditions including all cystic fibrosis, severe asthma and severe COPD.
- People with rare diseases and inborn errors of metabolism that significantly increase the risk of infections (such as SCID, homozygous sickle cell).
- People on immunosuppression therapies sufficient to significantly increase risk of infection.
- Women who are pregnant with significant heart disease, congenital or acquired.
For more information, please visit the government website. As you will note from this list, it does not go in to great detail for certain conditions. However, there is much clearer advice online. For example:
Specifically with regard to asthma or COPD, please use the excellent online resources for COVID-19 on the British Lung Foundation website.
For immunosuppressant information, the British Society for Rheumatology advises when shielding is appropriate on their website.
Unfortunately, we are unable to provide a letter or other correspondence for
employment purposes to support shielding if you do not meet the criteria