Get help if you are clinically extremely vulnerable to coronavirus

Some residents have been identified by the NHS as being clinically extremely vulnerable as they have a very specific medical condition that makes them at higher risk of severe illness if they contract COVID-19.

In February 2021 the NHS announced that it had developed a risk assessment model which combines a number of factors such as age, sex registered at birth, ethnicity, body mass index (BMI) and specific health conditions and treatments to estimate the risk of a person catching coronavirus and becoming seriously unwell. The NHS has used patient data to identify those people who might be at high risk and should now be classed as clinically extremely vulnerable. If you have been identified as part of this process you will receive a letter from the Government with more detail. Read more about how the risk model works. 

As part of the national lockdown (from 6 January 2021), the Government is advising those who are clinically extremely vulnerable to follow very careful guidance to ensure they can stay safe and well.

Latest update

If you are in this category, the Government has published guidance that you should follow.

Clinically extremely vulnerable residents are advised to follow shielding advice until 31 March 2021. This states:

Going to shops and pharmacies

You are advised not to go to the shops. Use online shopping if you can, or ask others to collect and deliver shopping for you (friends and family, or NHS Volunteer Responders - call 0808 196 3646 8am to 8pm, seven days a week).

You can register to request access to priority supermarket deliveries, if you do not have someone you can rely on to go shopping for you. If you already have a priority delivery slot with a supermarket, that will continue – you do not need to do anything further.

You are strongly advised not to go to a pharmacy. If friends and family are not able to collect your medicines for you, then you will be eligible for free medicines delivery. Contact your pharmacy to arrange this.


You are strongly advised to work from home. If you cannot work from home, then you should not attend work. You may want to speak to your employer about taking on an alternative role or change your working patterns temporarily to enable you to work from home where possible.

Your employer may be able to furlough you under the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme, you may be eligible for Statutory Sick Pay (SSP) or Employment Support Allowance (ESA). The formal shielding letter you receive from the Government will act as evidence for your employer and the Department of Work and Pensions that you are advised to shield and may be eligible for SSP or ESA.

Members of the household who are not clinically extremely vulnerable should continue to attend work if they are unable to work from home.


You are advised to stay at home as much as possible and not to travel unless essential.

Socialising inside and outside the home

You are advised to stay at home as much as possible and limit the time you spend outside your home. You should only go out for medical appointments, exercise or for essential reasons

You can still remain in your support bubble, but you cannot meet with friends and family you do not live with unless they are part of your support bubble. Try to stay 2 metres away from other people within your household.

Additional care and support

You can continue to receive care at home, either from professional social care and medical professionals, or from friends and family within your support bubble.

You should continue to access the NHS services that you need, and you should contact the NHS if you have an urgent or emergency care need.

Advice to the clinically extremely vulnerable has been and remains advisory.


The Government food boxes have now stopped and will not be reintroduced. However, there are a number of ways you can still access support.

You can register to request access to priority supermarket deliveries, if you do not have someone you can rely on to go shopping for you. If you have already got priority supermarket deliveries, you will keep them. When registering you will be asked for your NHS number. You can find it on any letter the NHS has sent you, or on a prescription.

Registering on the site just gives you priority. It does not mean you’ll definitely get a delivery slot. If you want priority supermarket deliveries, you will also need to set up an account with at least one supermarket and book slots yourself.

Vulnerable or housebound residents can also order shopping via telephone with Sainsbury’s or Morrisons for next day delivery.

  • To place an order with Sainsbury’s, call 0800 9178 557 Monday to Friday, 9 to 5pm.
  • To place an order with Morrisons, call 0345 611 6111 Sunday – Tuesday, 9 to 5pm, Wednesday to Saturday 9-5:30pm and select option five. Morrisons customers can choose from a list of 47 essential items.

If you urgently need groceries, you can also order shopping from food delivery companies like Deliveroo or UberEats

The NHS Volunteer Responders can continue to go shopping for you and pick up prescriptions. A check in and chat service is available for regular talks over the phone. You can contact them by calling 0808 196 3646 8am to 8pm, seven days a week. More information is available on the NHS Volunteer Responders website.

If you need help with your finances or need other help or support as a result of Covid-19, please see our directory of financial support available in the borough.

If you are feeling anxious, worried or overwhelmed during this period, please have a look at our list of mental health resources.

You can also access additional support from your energy supplier. Energy suppliers are required by the regulator, Ofgem, to hold a register of customers in a vulnerable circumstance, called a Priority Service Register. If you are clinically extremely vulnerable you can be added to this register. For information about how to be added to the register and the additional services your supplier can provide you, please visit Ofgem’s website.   

If you are in this group and need urgent support

Please contact our Community Hub:

If you don't currently have your prescriptions collected or delivered

You can arrange this by:

  • Asking someone who can pick up your prescription to do so from the local pharmacy
  • Contacting your pharmacy to ask them to help you find a volunteer (who will have been ID checked) to deliver it to you. You can find your local pharmacy online

Updated: 23 February 2021