Around 1.7 million additional people in England will be asked to shield from this week.
The government has confirmed that the shielding list is being expanded due to the development of a new model – which takes additional factors into account that can all play a role in making someone with COVID fall seriously ill.
These include aspects such as ethnicity, weight and living standards.
Those added to the shielding list will also move higher up the vaccination pecking order as a result.
Around 2.3 million people in England are already shielding – many of whom have existing medical conditions or are currently undergoing treatment.
But the new model, developed in collaboration with Oxford University, has now identified others who are considered ‘vulnerable’.
Out of the 1.7 million additional people being told to shield, around 900,000 have already received a vaccine offer, with the remainder set to be prioritised for jabs.
People being added to the shielding list will receive a letter informing them of their status.
Shielding advice was reintroduced nationally at the start of the current lockdown – urging vulnerable people to ‘stay at home as much as possible’.
The Gov UK website states that anyone shielding can still go outside for exercise or to attend health appointments, but should “try to keep all contact with others outside of their household to a minimum, and avoid busy areas.”
Those on the shielding list are still permitted to meet with their support bubbles.