The UK Government have just announced that they will be asking more people to ‘shield’.
A further 1.7 million people in the UK are expected to be added to the 2.3 million already on the list in England.
We currently believe this means that around 30,000 people in Hampshire will now be asked to stay at home and ‘shield’.
Further, we believe that this may be a confusing to many, as it conflicts with an anticipated announcement from the Prime Minister on Sunday about a lockdown ‘exit strategy’.
Those that have yet to be vaccinated who fall into this new level of ‘stay at home and shield’ request will be contacted by post and vaccinations will be prioritised as ‘urgent’ by their GP. They will include people who have been working through the various lockdown and ‘Tiered’ periods.
People receiving letters are expected to be told to remain in their homes until 31st March 2021
This announcement comes as calculations now include factors such as ethnicity, deprivation and weight to work out whether a person is at risk of becoming seriously ill should they catch coronavirus.
At the moment only those with specific conditions or undergoing certain types of treatment have been advised to shield.
People with respiratory conditions such as asthma may be asked to shield as part of this new arrangement.
‘New shielders’ are all thought to fall into a ‘priority group’ and will be prioritised for a vaccination. The government says that these people will be “bumped up the list first for a jab”.
Shielding was re-introduced in many areas in December, before being expanded nationally.
Deputy chief medical officer for England Dr Jenny Harries said, “This action ensures those most vulnerable to Covid can benefit from both the protection that vaccines provide and from enhanced advice and support should they choose it.”
The additional pressures on Test Valley Borough Council to provide vaccinations will no doubt be felt, as Cllr Phil North announced that 90% of all over-70s have been vaccinated, which “surpassed expectations”.
Demands on local Covid support groups like the Love Andover Isolation Help Group that provide support for those who must shield is also anticipated to increase.