Coronavirus (COVID-19) can make anyone seriously ill. But for some people, the risk is higher.
At some point during the COVID-19 pandemic you may have been told you were at high risk of getting seriously ill from COVID-19 (sometimes called clinically vulnerable or clinically extremely vulnerable). You may also have been advised to stay at home (shield).
For most people at high risk from COVID-19, vaccination has significantly reduced this risk. You can follow the same advice as everyone else on how to avoid catching and spreading COVID-19.
Some people continue to be at high risk from COVID-19, despite vaccination.
People who are still at high risk
You or your child may continue to be at high risk of getting seriously ill from COVID-19, despite vaccination, if you have:
- Down's syndrome
- certain types of cancer (such as a blood cancer like leukaemia or lymphoma)
- sickle cell disease
- certain conditions affecting your blood
- chronic kidney disease (CKD) stage 4 or 5
- severe liver disease
- had an organ or bone marrow 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 severe problem with the brain or nerves, such as cerebral palsy
- severe or multiple learning disabilities (or you're on the learning disability register)
- a weakened immune system due to a medical treatment (such as steroid medicine, biological therapy, chemotherapy or radiotherapy)
You may be advised to take extra steps or follow additional advice to protect yourself from COVID-19.
Additional advice and services for people at high risk
If you, your child or someone you live with continues to be at high risk of getting seriously ill from COVID-19, you may be eligible for:
- treatments if you have symptoms of COVID-19
- free COVID-19 tests if you are eligible
- an additional primary dose (3rd dose) of the COVID-19 vaccine for people with a severely weakened immune system
- a seasonal booster dose of the COVID-19 vaccine
There is also extra advice on keeping yourself safe if you're at high risk from COVID-19.
The NHS will usually contact you to let you know you are eligible for treatments or additional COVID-19 vaccinations.
If you think you're eligible for an additional primary dose of the COVID-19 vaccine or a spring booster but have not been contacted, you can book a COVID-19 vaccination online or find a walk-in COVID-19 vaccination site.
Other things that can affect your risk
Research shows there are other things that can make you more likely to get seriously ill from COVID-19, including if you are:
- aged 60 or over – your risk increases as you get older
- pregnant – read more about pregnancy and COVID-19
- not vaccinated against COVID-19 – read more about how to get a COVID-19 vaccine
COVID-19 vaccination is the best way to protect yourself against getting seriously ill from COVID-19 if you are aged 60 or over, pregnant or unvaccinated.