Coronavirus (COVID-19): guidance for people at higher risk from COVID-19
Everyone should take steps to reduce the risk of catching or spreading coronavirus (COVID-19). If you’re at higher risk from COVID-19 or previously identified as ‘clinically extremely vulnerable’ or ‘vulnerable’, remember that the virus is still in our communities and you may wish to take extra precautions.
If you are at higher risk from COVID-19, or previously identified as ‘clinically extremely vulnerable (CEV)’ or ‘vulnerable’ , the single most effective measure you can take to protect yourself is to get vaccinated, as well as getting any booster vaccination doses you are offered.
If your immune system has been severely suppressed, either as a result of an existing medical condition you have, or a treatment you’re currently receiving, you should have been contacted by your GP or hospital clinician with details on how to go about receiving a COVID-19 vaccination and any recommended booster vaccination doses.
Further information on where to get the COVID-19 vaccination and boosters doses is available at:
Whilst vaccination provides significant protection against serious illness, no vaccine is 100 per cent effective. It is vitally important that you continue to exercise great care.
There are now additional treatments available for selected groups of people with coronavirus who are thought to be at greater risk of being admitted to hospital and possible serious COVID-19 illness or death.
Further information is available at:
If you are at higher risk from COVID-19 or have been previously identified as ‘clinically extremely vulnerable’ or ‘vulnerable’ it's important to continue to follow the recommended public health guidance which applies to the general population.
Further advice is available at:
There is no 'once size fits all' advice and you should consider what is best for you and the necessary precautions you can take to minimise personal risk.
Take advice from your GP, clinician/ specialist consultant if needed.
If you are at higher risk from COVID-19, or have been previously identified as ‘clinically extremely vulnerable’ or ‘vulnerable you should work from home where this is possible.
If it is not possible for you to work from home you should discuss any individual needs and a return to the workplace with your employer.
All employers have a 'duty of care' for staff and, in practice, this means taking all steps they reasonably can to support the health, safety and wellbeing of their staff.
Information and advice for employers and employees on COVID-19 and working safely across a range of workplace settings is available on the nibusinessinfo website.
If you have any concerns about your safety in the workplace, you are encouraged to discuss these with your employer or human resources department.
Where you find that you have a disagreement with your employer, which you are unable to resolve, you should consider contacting the Labour Relations Agency (LRA).
The Law Centre NI also offers free, independent, specialist legal advice on employment rights and has established a dedicated COVID-19 response team for COVID-19 related employment rights matters.
Pupils who may be at higher risk from COVID-19 and clinically extremely vulnerable’ or ‘vulnerable’, or live with a family member that may be at higher risk from COVID-19 can still go to school.
If you have concerns about attending school, you should speak with your GP or hospital consultant. Their advice can be shared with the school if you wish. The school can then decide if it needs to take any additional actions to further reduce any identified risks.
If you're receiving domiciliary care, or living in a nursing or residential care home, guidance for these settings is available from the Public Health Agency website:
If you're worried about your health and social care, the Patient and Client Council offer a freephone support service, supporting you with any questions, concerns or complaints you may have.
Advisors will be able to help you to navigate your care if it is affected by the pressures being faced by the Health Service. Contact details are below:
- freephone telephone number: 0800 917 0222
- email: firstname.lastname@example.org
For more information about this service visit the Patient Client Council website.
Mental health support
This is a difficult time for many people and may be particularly worrying for those who have an underlying medical condition and are at a higher risk from COVID-19.
If you are finding things difficult, there are a range of supports available which can help.
The Minding Your Head website contains information to help you look after your own mental health and to support others.
Tailored information and self-help guides from local mental health and wellbeing charities are available at the COVID-19 Virtual Wellbeing Hub.
If you have concerns about your health or mental wellbeing, you should speak to your GP.
If you're in distress or despair, you can call Lifeline on 0808 808 8000 where you can speak to a trained counsellor. This service is available 24/7 and is free from all NI landlines and mobiles.
The Public Health Agency (PHA) has published a leaflet 'Take five steps to wellbeing’ which offers tips on supporting your mental and emotional wellbeing while staying at home during the current COVID-19 outbreak.
Find resources to develop skills to cope with loneliness on the British Red Cross website
Advice if you are claiming benefits is available at: