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‘Clinically vulnerable’ and shielding

We have received queries about whether people with diabetes fit into the ‘clinically vulnerable’ category and therefore should be ‘shielding’.

Having diabetes does not automatically mean that you fit into the clinically vulnerable category, this only applies to people who have received a letter telling them they are in this group or if they have been told by their GP.

The guidance is for people who are clinically extremely vulnerable, including children and it also applies to their family, friends and carers. It applies to people living at home, with or without additional support, and to clinically extremely vulnerable people living in long-term care facilities for the elderly or people with special needs.

Who is ‘clinically extremely vulnerable’?
If you have been told that you’re clinically extremely vulnerable, you should:

  • follow the advice in the government’s guidance,
  • register online https://www.gov.uk/coronavirus-extremely-vulnerable even if you do not need additional support now,
  • if you are not classed as clinically vulnerable, then you should follow the government’s advice on social distancing

Expert doctors have identified specific medical conditions that, based on what is known about the virus so far, place someone at greatest risk of severe illness from COVID-19. The following people are included but disease severity, history or treatment levels will also affect who is in the group.

  • People with specific cancers:
  • people with cancer who are undergoing active chemotherapy
  • people with lung cancer who are undergoing radical radiotherapy
  • people with cancers of the blood or bone marrow such as leukaemia, lymphoma or myeloma who are at any stage of treatment
  • people having immunotherapy or other continuing antibody treatments for cancer
  • people having other targeted cancer treatments which can affect the immune system, such as protein kinase inhibitors or PARP inhibitors
  • people who have had bone marrow or stem cell transplants in the last 6 months, or who are still taking immunosuppression drugs.
  • People with severe respiratory conditions including all cystic fibrosis, severe asthma and severe chronic obstructive pulmonary (COPD).
  • People with rare diseases and inborn errors of metabolism that significantly increase the risk of infections (such as severe combined immunodeficiency (SCID), homozygous sickle cell).
  • People on immunosuppression therapies sufficient to significantly increase risk of infection.
  • Women who are pregnant with significant heart disease, congenital or acquired.

Staying at home and shielding

If you have received a letter telling you that you are in the clinically vulnerable group, you are strongly advised to stay at home at all times and avoid any face to face contact. This is called shielding and means:

  1. Do not leave your house.
  2. Do not attend any gatherings. This includes gatherings of friends and families in private spaces, for example, family homes, weddings and religious services.
  3. Strictly avoid contact with someone who is displaying symptoms of coronavirus (COVID-19). These symptoms include high temperature and/or new and continuous cough.

The Government is currently advising people to shield until the end of June and is regularly monitoring this position.

Check this is the right guidance for you
There’s different guidance if you are not clinically extremely vulnerable.
Follow the different guidance if any of the following apply to you:

  • you do not have any of the conditions that makes you clinically extremely vulnerable
  • you have not been told by your GP or specialist that you’re clinically extremely vulnerable or received a letter
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