Shielding set to come to an end for millions as roadmap out of pandemic gets underway

For an estimated four million people shielding across England and Wales, today marks the last day the most clinically vulnerable people are being advised to shield.

In the last few weeks, ahead of restrictions easing and roadmaps out of the pandemic getting under way, letters have been sent out to people shielding to state that 31 March 2021 is the last day of shielding, with people allowed to follow general coronavirus rules from Thursday 1 April 2021.

Figures from NHS Digital show that there are 3.8 million people shielding in England and 130,000 in Wales.

Despite advice on shielding being lifted, maintaining social distancing, working home where possible, and keeping social contacts minimum is still in place.

However, research from disability charity Scope has found that 75 per cent of people plan to continue shielding until they have received the second dose of the vaccine.


People who have been asked to shield should also have been prioritised for the COVID-19 vaccine.

Earlier in 2021, a further 1.7 million people in England were added to the priority vaccination group six after campaigning from recognisable figures and charitable organisations.

Those entitled to the COVID-19 vaccine early include people with Down’s syndrome, stem cell transplants, receiving chemotherapy and also people with learning disabilities.

Later in April, both Scotland and Northern Ireland are expected to lift their shielding advise.

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