The government has identified nearly two million more people at higher risk of Covid who are being asked to protect.
The NHS will be sending letters to patients in the coming weeks allowing them to upgrade their vaccine priority group.
Medical professionals and researchers at Oxford University analyzed data on those hospitalized or died to date during the pandemic to calculate those in the population at risk.
The new computerized risk assessment model will add another 1.7 million people in England to around two million already on the “extremely clinically at risk” list.
It is currently recommended to shield until at least the end of February. It is believed that the change is only now taking place in England.
This new group is classified as vulnerable because of a combination of less severe conditions and risk factors that taken together make them vulnerable.
This group is prioritized for vaccination as well as free grocery delivery and guaranteed statutory sick pay.
General practitioners can also provide tailored advice based on their risk.
The computerized risk assessment was approved by the Medicines and Health Products regulator after their model was peer reviewed in the British Medical Journal.
The model takes into account where someone lives with their zip code and ethnicity.
The risk factors taken into account also include health records, age, gender and body mass index (BMI).
Most will have been offered a vaccination based on their age, but those who have not yet had a sting will be placed in their priority group.
So far the only people recommended to wear a shield in England have been those classified by the NHS as “extremely clinically vulnerable”.
This includes people who have received organ transplants or have cancer, COPD, Down’s syndrome, severe kidney or heart disease, or other medical conditions.
The “clinically extremely vulnerable” people should have already been offered the first doses of the vaccine, as was the case in the first four priority groups.
There are now an additional 6.1 million people at risk in England – 7.3 million in the UK – who are younger than 75.
They were not ordered to shield themselves during any of the lockdowns, but should be more careful. You will receive vaccination letters for this week.
The risk group appears to be similar to the “clinically at risk” group, which includes people with severe asthma, obesity, diabetes, and liver disease, as well as anyone over the age of 70 and pregnant women.
Today’s announcement suggests that some, if by no means all, of these individuals will be asked to protect themselves in the coming weeks.