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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.

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:

There is also extra advice on keeping yourself safe if you're at high risk from COVID-19.

Information:

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:

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.

Page last reviewed: 23 June 2022
Next review due: 28 October 2022