Posted: Fri 11th Mar 2022

Shielding programme introduced at start of pandemic to finish at the end of March

News and Info from Deeside, Flintshire, North Wales
This article is old - Published: Friday, Mar 11th, 2022


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Wales’ Shielding Patient List will close at the end of March, the health minister has announced.

130,000 adults and young people in Wales who were considered most at risk of serious illness from coronavirus were asked two years ago at the start of the pandemic to take extra precautions and stay indoors until summer 2020.

The measures were reintroduced in December during the second wave of the pandemic, before ending at the start of April 2021.

Since then the advice to those on the shielding list has been the same as the general population.

However two years on from the start of the pandemic and with the remaining covid measures set to be wound down, Health Minister Eluned Morgan has confirmed that the Shielding Patient List will close on 31 March 2022.

Chief Medical Officer, Sir Dr Frank Atherton, will be writing to the thousands on the list to inform them of this change.

The Welsh Government is working with supermarkets, water companies and local authorities to bring the sharing of Shielding Patient List data to an end, and to ensure it is securely deleted.

Ms Morgan said: “Almost two years have passed since the list was developed and we have learned a lot about the virus since then. Vaccination has changed the course of the pandemic and has severely weakened the link between coronavirus and serious illness and we now have access to new treatments which can also prevent serious illness, especially for people who are clinically vulnerable.

“Over the course of the pandemic, the personal circumstances of some people on the shielding patient list have changed. Some people were added to the list because they were undergoing treatment for cancer, for example; today that treatment has ended successfully. Other people were added because they were on a particular course of medicine or because they had significant heart disease and were pregnant.

“The NHS has information about people who are classed as clinically vulnerable and are eligible for the new Covid-19 treatments and for priority access to vaccine booster programmes. Many of these will have been on the Shielding Patient List, but not all.

“I have therefore accepted the advice of the Chief Medical Officer for Wales, that the time is right to end the shielding programme.

“Shielding advice was paused on 1 April 2021 and since then, everyone on the Shielding Patient List has been advised to follow the same advice as the general population.

“The Chief Medical Officer has indicated for some time that he had no intention of reintroducing shielding advice again due to the associated harms and our better understanding of how to keep safe. The main protection has been vaccination.”

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