On 15 September 2021, Government announced an end to COVID 19 restrictions for those deemed extremely clinically vulnerable.
This announcement follows as government continues to follow expert advice in line with the COVID 19 vaccination rollout being extended to more groups and continued development on the nature of the virus and the vulnerability of certain individuals.
The closure of the shielding programme follows a pause to shielding guidance in place since 1 April 2021 and is extended to include specific groups that were at a higher risk of serious illness from catching the virus because of certain underlying conditions outlined on the Shielding Patient List.
Those previously on the Shielded Patient List will receive a letter from the government in the coming days to inform them of this decision.
Research and evaluation for some individual clinical groups will continue and government has made clear that they will continue to assess the situation and any risks this might pose for some vulnerable individuals, but for now this is to follow the same guidance that applies to everyone else, whilst taking relevant precautions.
Although the relaxation of the shielding rules has been in place since 19 July 2021, this latest announcement formalises that guidance and brings clarification to the rules for employers.
Government has however as a precaution stated the following:
"Those patients who are at risk from infectious diseases more generally – for example patients with blood cancers – and who can also remain less protected after other vaccinations, may wish to discuss this with their specialist as part of their routine care."