Coronavirus (COVID-19) can make anyone seriously ill. But for some people, the risk is higher.
There are 2 levels of higher risk:
- high risk (clinically extremely vulnerable)
- moderate risk (clinically vulnerable)
The lists below may not include everyone who's at higher risk from coronavirus and may change as we learn more about the virus.
People at high risk (clinically extremely vulnerable)
People most at risk of getting seriously ill from coronavirus are known as clinically extremely vulnerable.
There are 3 ways you may be identified as clinically extremely vulnerable:
- you have 1 or more of the conditions listed below
- your clinician or GP has added you to the Shielded Patient List because, based on their clinical judgement, they deem you to be at high risk of serious illness if you catch the virus
- you have been identified through the COVID-19 Population Risk Assessment as potentially being at high risk of serious illness if you catch the virus
You're automatically considered clinically extremely vulnerable if:
- you've had an organ transplant
- you're having chemotherapy or antibody treatment for cancer, including immunotherapy
- you're having an intense course of radiotherapy (radical radiotherapy) for lung cancer
- you're having targeted cancer treatments that can affect the immune system (such as protein kinase inhibitors or PARP inhibitors)
- you have blood or bone marrow cancer (such as leukaemia, lymphoma or myeloma)
- you've had a bone marrow or stem cell transplant in the past 6 months, or are still taking immunosuppressant medicine
- you've been told by a doctor you have a severe lung condition (such as cystic fibrosis, severe asthma or severe COPD)
- you have a condition that means you have a very high risk of getting infections (such as SCID or sickle cell)
- you're taking medicine that makes you much more likely to get infections (such as high doses of steroids or immunosuppressant medicine)
- you have a serious heart condition and are pregnant
- you have a problem with your spleen or your spleen has been removed (splenectomy)
- you're an adult with Down's syndrome
- you're an adult who is having dialysis or has severe (stage 5) long-term kidney disease
If you're at high risk from coronavirus, you should have received a letter from the NHS.
Speak to your GP or hospital care team if you have not been contacted and think you should have been.
How to keep yourself safe
There are things you can do to help keep yourself safe if you're at high risk from coronavirus.
If you're at high risk from coronavirus (clinically extremely vulnerable), you're eligible for the COVID-19 vaccine.
People at moderate risk (clinically vulnerable)
People at moderate risk from coronavirus include people who:
- are 70 or older
- have a lung condition that's not severe (such as asthma, COPD, emphysema or bronchitis)
- have heart disease (such as heart failure)
- have diabetes
- have chronic kidney disease
- have liver disease (such as hepatitis)
- have a condition affecting the brain or nerves (such as Parkinson's disease, motor neurone disease, multiple sclerosis or cerebral palsy)
- have a condition that means they have a high risk of getting infections
- are taking medicine that can affect the immune system (such as low doses of steroids)
- are very obese (a BMI of 40 or above)
- are pregnant – see advice about pregnancy and coronavirus
Unlike people at high risk, you will not get a letter from the NHS.
What to do if you're at moderate risk
If you're at moderate risk from coronavirus, it's very important to follow social distancing advice to reduce your chances of catching or spreading the virus.
Find out more about social distancing.
Other things that can affect your risk
There are other things that can make you more likely to get seriously ill from coronavirus, including if you are:
- over 60 – your risk increases as you get older
- from a Black, Asian or minority ethnic background