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Advice for people at high risk from coronavirus (shielding)

If you're at high risk (clinically extremely vulnerable) from coronavirus (COVID-19), you're advised to take extra steps to protect yourself.


This advice is for people who have received a letter from the NHS or their GP saying they're clinically extremely vulnerable.

If you're not sure if you're at high risk, see who's at higher risk from coronavirus.

Coronavirus vaccination

If you're at high risk from coronavirus (clinically extremely vulnerable), you're eligible for the COVID-19 vaccine.

Book your coronavirus vaccination appointments

Stay at home

You're advised to stay at home as much as possible.

You should only leave your home for medical appointments, exercise or if it's essential.

If you do go out, try to:

  • limit how long you spend outside your home
  • keep all contact with other people to a minimum
  • avoid busy areas


You should work from home if you can. Your employer should support you to do this.

If you cannot work from home, you're advised not to go to work. You will get a letter advising you to stay at home. You can use this letter as proof you're unable to go to work.

If you're unable to work, you may be eligible for Statutory Sick Pay (SSP), Employment Support Allowance (ESA) or Universal Credit.

Anyone you live with who is not at high risk from coronavirus can continue to go to work if they cannot work from home.


More information and advice about work:

You can also get advice from Acas. Call the Acas helpline on 0300 123 1100 (Monday to Friday, 8am to 6pm).

School, college and university

Anyone who is at high risk of coronavirus should not go to school, college or university.

Schools, colleges and universities will make sure learning can be done from home.

Getting food, medicines and shopping

You're advised not to go to shops or pharmacies.

Instead try to:

  • shop online
  • ask family or friends to collect shopping for you
  • get help with food and medicine deliveries from an NHS volunteer – call 0808 196 3646 (8am to 8pm) to get help from NHS Volunteer Responders

Get help and support

You may be able to:

  • ask for priority access to supermarket deliveries
  • ask your local council to contact you about any local support that may be available

Get support if you're at high risk from coronavirus on GOV.UK

How to protect yourself and others


  • try to stay at least 2 metres (3 steps) away from other people – including people you live with and people in your support bubble

  • wash your hands with soap and water often – do this for at least 20 seconds

  • use hand sanitiser gel if soap and water are not available

  • wash your hands as soon as you get home

  • wear something that covers your nose and mouth in places where it's hard to stay away from other people, such as in hospitals

  • let fresh air into your home by opening windows, doors and air vents as much as possible


  • do not touch your eyes, nose or mouth if your hands are not clean

Support bubbles

If you live alone or you're a single parent who lives only with your children, you can meet with 1 other household. This is called a support bubble.

Find out about making a support bubble with another household on GOV.UK

Medical help and appointments

It can be hard to know what to do if you're unwell or need to use the NHS.

It's important to:

  • get medical help if you think you need it
  • keep any appointments or procedures you have booked – unless you're told not to go
  • go to hospital if you're advised to

NHS services have made changes to make sure it's safe for you to be seen during coronavirus. There are also ways to get medical help and prescriptions online or over the phone.

Find out more about using the NHS during coronavirus.

Page last reviewed: 18 February 2021
Next review due: 4 March 2021