New government guidance for the clinically extremely vulnerable – FAQs

There have a number of changes to guidance around COVID-19 in recent days across the UK. This blog will update you on any changes.

Correct as of 14/07/2021. We will update this with further information as soon as possible. Please get in touch with us at advocacy@leukaemiacare.org.uk for further help. 

The Government has issued new guidance for the clinically extremely vulnerable (CEV) ahead of restrictions easing on the 19th July 2021. This guidance applies to England only; we will share the advice for other regions when applicable.

Am I still clinically extremely vulnerable?

Since the first advice was issued to the clinically extremely vulnerable (CEV) in March 2020, more is known about the impact of COVID-19 on leukaemia patients. Additionally, the vaccine has become available, which offers some protection. However, we do not know how much protection and research is ongoing to work out which patients are least likely to be protected by the vaccine. 

Therefore, we advise that you continue to be cautious to avoid catching COVID-19 until more is known about the effectiveness of vaccines. If you would like to understand your own risk further, please speak to your clinical team.

Overall the Government advises the CEV to follow the guidance that is in place for the general public after restrictions are eased on 19th July. However, due to the increased risk of serious illness if the CEV contract COVID-19 and the fact that more data is required to determine vaccine efficacy in the immunocompromised, CEV people are advised to continue to take extra precautions where possible. Here is a summary of the guidance:

1. Vaccination and booster vaccines

Everyone on the Shielded Patient List should already have been offered a COVID-19 vaccine. You should ensure you have 2 doses of the vaccine to increase your level of protection.

The JCVI’s interim advice, based on existing evidence, is to offer COVID-19 booster vaccines to the most vulnerable, including all immunosuppressed adults, starting from September 2021. We will update our COVID vaccine information when we have more information on this programme.

2. Socialising inside and outside the home

  • From 19th July, there will no longer be any limits on the number of people or households that you can meet with. 
  • The requirement to socially distance from others will also end, other than in a few exceptions (e.g. maintaining infection control in health and care settings). 
  • The CEV should think carefully about taking extra precautions when meeting with others, especially those who you do not usually meet with. Extra precautions could include:
    • meet outside in uncrowded spaces where possible
    • make sure the space is well ventilated if you meet inside
    • consider whether you and those you are meeting have been fully vaccinated – you might want to wait until 14 days after your second dose of a COVID-19 vaccine before being in close contact with others
    • consider continuing to practice social distancing if that feels right for you and your friends
    • ask friends and family to take a lateral flow test before visiting you
    • wash your hands regularly and avoid touching your face
    • consider if COVID-19 disease levels are high in the general community.
  • You are encouraged to go outside for exercise and can do so freely now. 

3. Work

  • From 19th July, social distancing measures will end in the workplace and it will no longer be necessary for the government to instruct people to work from home.
  • However, employers still have a legal responsibility to protect their employees and others from risks to their health and safety. Your employer should be able to explain to you the measures they have in place to keep you safe at work.
  • If you need support to work at home or in the workplace, you can apply for the Access to Work scheme. Access to Work may provide support for the disability-related extra costs of working that are beyond standard reasonable adjustments an employer must provide.
  • The furlough scheme and self employment support scheme will continue until 30th September 2021.
  • If you have concerns about your employer not managing the risk of Covid-19 you can raise these with the Health and Safety Executive or local authorities who will take appropriate action.

4. Face coverings

  • The Government is lifting the legal requirement to wear a face covering in public places from 19th July. 
  • However, the Government expects and recommends that all people continue to wear face coverings in crowded places e.g. public transport.
  • In Scotland, Nicola Sturgeon has decided to keep face masks mandatory in all settings after 19th July.

5. Going to shops and pharmacies

The CEV are now advised to follow the guidance that applies to the rest of the population, however, you may still wish to consider going to the shops and pharmacy at quieter times of the day.

Our statement 

Leukaemia Care has written to the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, Sajid Javid MP, to express concerns about this advice for clinically extremely vulnerable people ahead of 19th of July. The guidance advises that the CEV should try to avoid and limit contact with others where possible, yet it does not offer any practical support in the wider society which would enable the vulnerable to follow the advice.

For more information about this guidance, including help finding financial support, dealing with employers and assistance with the government support, please email advocacy@leukaemiacare.org.uk.

For support, you can also call our helpline: 08088 010 444, or use our WhatsApp service: 07500068065. If you prefer to email, please send your questions to support@leukaemiacare.org.uk. The helpline team will take your details and pass them onto the advocacy team.

Blog post published on: 14th July 2021

Blog post last updated on: 14th July 2021

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