Who is “extremely vulnerable”

You’re extremely vulnerable if you:

  • have had a solid organ transplant
  • have any cancer and are getting chemotherapy
  • have lung cancer and are getting radical radiotherapy
  • have cancer of the blood or bone marrow, at any stage of treatment – for example, leukaemia, lymphoma or myeloma
  • have any cancer for which you’re getting immunotherapy or other continuing antibody treatments
  • have any cancer for which you’re getting a targeted treatment which can affect the immune system – for example, protein kinase inhibitors or PARP inhibitors
  • have had bone marrow or stem cell transplants in the last 6 months, or are still taking immunosuppression drugs
  • have a severe respiratory condition – including cystic fibrosis, severe asthma or severe COPD (Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease)
  • have a rare disease or inborn error of metabolism that significantly increases your risk of infection – for example SCID or homozygous sickle cell
  • are getting an immunosuppression therapy that’s sufficient to significantly increase your risk of infection
  • are pregnant, and have a significant congenital or acquired heart disease

Click here for the guidance on what you should do if you have one of these conditions. It includes instructions on what is known as “shielding”, which says that you are strongly advised to stay at home at all times and avoid any face-to-face contact for a period of at least 12 weeks (this period of time could change).

Visits from people who provide essential support to you such as healthcare, personal support with your daily needs or social care should continue, but carers and care workers must stay away if they have any of the symptoms of coronavirus (COVID-19). All people coming to your home should wash their hands with soap and water for at least 20 seconds on arrival to your house and often while they are there.

You should have an alternative list of people who can help you with your care if your main carer becomes unwell. Elsewhere in this guidance we give you advice on how to go about doing this.

If you have someone else living with you, they are not required to adopt these protective shielding measures for themselves. They should do what they can to support you in shielding and they should stringently follow guidance on social distancing, reducing their contact outside the home. If you care for but don’t actually live with someone who is extremely vulnerable, you should still stringently follow guidance on social distancing.

You can also register to get extra support from the government if you have one of the above conditions. For example, you’ll be able to ask for help getting deliveries of essential supplies like food.

If you’re not sure whether your medical condition makes you extremely vulnerable, register anyway.

This service is free. You can register yourself, or for someone else. Click here to access the registration process

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