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Who is at high risk from coronavirus (COVID-19)

Coronavirus (COVID-19) can make anyone seriously ill. But for some people, the risk is higher.

People who are eligible for COVID-19 treatments

The NHS is offering antibody and antiviral treatments to people with COVID-19 who are at highest risk of becoming seriously ill.

You may be at highest risk of getting seriously ill from COVID-19 if you have:

  • Down's syndrome
  • certain types of cancer or have received treatment for certain types of cancer
  • sickle cell disease
  • certain conditions affecting your blood
  • chronic kidney disease (CKD) stage 4 or 5
  • severe liver disease
  • had an organ transplant
  • certain autoimmune or inflammatory conditions (such as rheumatoid arthritis or inflammatory bowel disease)
  • HIV or AIDS and have a weakened immune system
  • a condition affecting your immune system
  • a rare condition affecting the brain or nerves (multiple sclerosis, motor neurone disease, Huntington’s disease or myasthenia gravis)

A doctor or specialist will confirm if you are eligible for treatment.

Find out more about treatments for COVID-19

People who have a severely weakened immune system

A 3rd dose and booster (4th dose) of the COVID-19 vaccine is being offered to people aged 12 and over who had a severely weakened immune system when they had their first 2 doses.

This includes people who had or have:

  • a blood cancer (such as leukaemia or lymphoma)
  • a weakened immune system due to a treatment (such as steroid medicine, biological therapy, chemotherapy or radiotherapy)
  • an organ or bone marrow transplant
  • a condition that means you have a very high risk of getting infections
  • a condition or treatment your specialist advises makes you eligible for a 3rd dose

Find out more about the COVID-19 vaccine for people with a severely weakened immune system

Children and young people at high risk

Some children and young people aged 5 to 17 are considered at high risk from COVID-19 if either:

  • they live with someone who has a weakened immune system (such as someone who has HIV, has had a transplant or is having certain treatments for cancer, lupus or rheumatoid arthritis)
  • they have a condition that means they're at high risk of getting seriously ill from COVID-19

Conditions that mean they may be at high risk include:

  • a severe problem with the brain or nerves, such as cerebral palsy
  • Down's syndrome
  • severe or multiple learning disabilities (or they're on the learning disability register)
  • a condition that means they're more likely to get infections (such as some genetic conditions or types of cancer)

All children and young people who are at high risk can get a 1st and 2nd dose of the COVID-19 vaccine.

Children and young people aged 12 to 17 can also get booster dose.

More information

People who have a condition that puts them at high risk

People aged 16 and over with a health condition that puts them at high risk of getting seriously ill from COVID-19 are eligible for a booster dose of the vaccine.

These conditions include:

  • long-term lung conditions (such as severe asthma, COPD, bronchiectasis and cystic fibrosis)
  • long-term conditions affecting the heart or blood vessels (such as congenital heart disease, heart failure and peripheral arterial disease)
  • long-term kidney disease
  • long-term liver conditions (such as cirrhosis and hepatitis)
  • conditions affecting the brain or nerves (such as dementia, Parkinson's disease, motor neurone disease, multiple sclerosis, epilepsy, cerebral palsy or stroke)
  • severe or multiple learning disabilities
  • Down's syndrome
  • diabetes
  • problems with the spleen or the spleen has been removed (splenectomy)
  • severe obesity (a BMI of 40 or above)
  • severe mental conditions (such as schizophrenia and bipolar disorder)
  • a condition or treatment that makes you more likely to get infections
  • a condition your doctor advises puts you at high risk

Find out more about the COVID-19 vaccine booster dose

Advice if you're at high risk

People at high risk from COVID-19 are advised to follow the same guidance as everyone else.

You are no longer advised to stay at home (shield). But there are still things you can do to help keep yourself safe.

Read more about advice for people at high risk from COVID-19

Important: Clinically extremely vulnerable

People are no longer being called clinically extremely vulnerable.

Some people who were previously considered clinically extremely vulnerable are still considered at high risk from COVID-19.

Read the guidance for people previously considered clinically extremely vulnerable on GOV.UK

Page last reviewed: 28 April 2022
Next review due: 28 October 2022