Around 800,000 clinically extremely vulnerable people continuing to shield from pandemic

One in five clinically extremely vulnerable people have continued shielding in England after society reopened, figures suggest.

Around 22% of people considered clinically extremely vulnerable (CEV) during the coronavirus pandemic said they were continuing to follow previous shielding guidance, the Office for National Statistics (ONS) said.

This equates to around 800,000 people out of 3.7 million people previously identified as CEV.

The ONS said a further 68% of CEV people were no longer shielding but were continuing to take extra precautions to protect themselves.

These include considering whether they or those they meet have been vaccinated, socially distancing with friends if that feels right, and avoiding crowded spaces.

Nine per cent said they were neither shielding nor taking any extra precautions.

The ONS surveyed 1,025 CEV people between October 11 and 16.

The data was collected during a time in which CEV people were not advised to shield and the shielding programme had ended.

The majority (89%) of respondents were aware that shielding guidance was no longer in place.

CEV people who were still shielding had significantly lower average life satisfaction scores than those who were not shielding.

More CEV people also reported feeling lonely often or always – with 10% saying this, compared with 6% of the general population.

Tim Gibbs, head of the ONS public services analysis team, said: “Though shielding has ended in England, many clinically extremely vulnerable people have continued to take precautions against Covid-19, with almost one quarter still shielding.

“This has had an impact on their mental health and wellbeing, with one in 10 reporting feeling lonely often or always.

“I want to thank everyone who has taken part in this survey in helping us to monitor the attitudes and behaviours of the vulnerable.”

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