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What does Sajid Javid’s letter to the clinically extremely vulnerable mean?

27th Sep 2021

We've read the 2,000 word letter, digested it, and sum up the key points in 179 words.

If you were previously shielding because you are clinically extremely vulnerable and live in England, you should by now have received a letter from Health Secretary Sajid Javid, telling you shielding has now ended.

We're disappointed by the letter, which is the latest in a long line of government communications to the clinically extremely vulnerable that is not good enough.

The letter does not feel properly thought through, and risks giving the wrong impression that people who are extremely clinically vulnerable no longer need to worry that much about Covid. And at almost 2,000 fairly dry words, it's very likely that lots of people who receive it will not read the whole thing.

So if you have blood cancer and have been left confused about what Sajid Javid’s letter means for you, we’ve distilled what you need to know into the following 179 words.

In summary:

  • If you have blood cancer (which includes leukaemia, lymphoma and myeloma), you have a compromised immune system.
  • This means you may be less likely to respond well to the vaccines, and so may still be at risk from Covid even if after being vaccinated. So you should still be trying to avoid coming into contact with the virus.
  • Some people with blood cancer may be more or less likely to respond to the vaccines, depending on the type of blood cancer they have and the specific treatment they are on. You should speak to your haematology team for advice on your individual risk, or read our vaccine efficacy page for general information.
  • You should definitely have a third vaccine dose when you are offered it. While we do not know how protected you will be even after three doses, any extra protection is well worth having.
  • The Government is no longer offering people with blood cancer any formal support to help them avoid coming into contact with the virus, and the furlough scheme is now coming to an end.

We're disappointed shielding has ended, because it sends the wrong message at a time when the infection rate is high and because people with blood cancer needs the Government’s support to help them keep safe over the winter. We will continue to make this case.

If you have further questions

You can sign up to our e-newsletter below, to get the latest news on how people with blood cancer can keep safe from Covid, or contact our support services by phone or email.

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