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Shielding and support for you

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Food deliveries and government support

How to get food, medication, government support and online delivery priority with supermarkets.

Announcements about pausing shielding in England and Northern Ireland from 1 August 2020

On 22 June, the government announced changes to advice for adults and children shielding advice in England and Northern Ireland.

We are aware this announcement may worry people shielding across the UK.

These changes only apply to England and Northern Ireland. And it’s important to remember:

This page is up to date with all the support currently available if you are shielding.

Make sure you register as a vulnerable person with the government

Last updated: 22 June 2020

To access the government's support schemes for people shielding, including food and medicine deliveries, and priority slots for supermarket deliveries:


If you think you should have received a shielding letter and you haven't,
contact your hospital team or GP. They can add people to the list. The letter can help you access the support you need while shielding.

Getting priority online delivery slots with supermarkets

Many UK supermarkets are using the government’s list of vulnerable people to help them give priority to these customers for things like online deliveries. You should:

  • Make sure you register as a vulnerable person with the government – see above.
  • Create online accounts with supermarkets, so they can contact you when priority slots open up.

People who opt-out of food parcels, but are still registered as a vulnerable person, will still get priority delivery slots with supermarkets.

In England, Wales and Scotland, you need to register with your government as vulnerable (see above) to get priority delivery slots with supermarkets.

In Northern Ireland, you should also register with the government as vulnerable (see above) but they also have a specific place you can register for priority delivery slots with supermarkets.

If this system hasn’t worked for you yet, and you are vulnerable, here are the phone numbers we know about to call (make sure you create an online account with the supermarket first):

  • Sainsbury’s – call 0800 052 5500 for priority online deliveries
  • Tesco – call 0800 917 7359 for priority online deliveries
  • Asda – call 0800 0281 966 for priority online deliveries

Other supermarkets are also prioritising vulnerable customers, but you need to be on the government’s list and the supermarket will contact you directly, if you have an account with them.

We’re including information here about priority services for vulnerable customers, rather than including everything each supermarket is doing to try to meet demand.

If you know about any other online delivery help for vulnerable customers, please contact us on [email protected] so we can assess whether to add this.

You can see the latest updates on what all supermarkets are doing on this live page from the British Retail Consortium.

Tell the supermarkets they need to deliver

We have reached out to UK supermarkets and the government, asking them to act faster in prioritising people with blood cancer for deliveries. Sign our petition to tell supermarkets they need to deliver for people with blood cancer.

Getting food and medication

Last updated: 3 April 2020

To access the government's support schemes for people shielding, including food and medicine deliveries, you should:

  • Register as a vulnerable person with the government – see above.

Other helpful services:

  • In England you can also register for help from the NHS Volunteer Responders, who can help by delivering food and medication. Carers can also apply on behalf of someone else, or for support for themselves if needed to maintain their caring role.
  • The government has set up a WhatsApp help service. Add 07860 064422 to your phone contacts and then message the word ‘hi’ in a WhatsApp message to get started.
  • Many GPs let you request repeat prescriptions via email, phone or their website. Contact your GP to find out the easiest way for you.
  • Contact your pharmacy if you need a volunteer to deliver your medication to you.
  • If you need urgent support, contact your local authority and tell them your situation.

How safe are deliveries and shopping?

Last updated: 3 April 2020

Getting things delivered is important because it helps you avoid the shops. You are more likely to catch coronavirus from a shopping trip than a delivery.

There are various studies being done into how long coronavirus can survive on different surfaces. But we don’t fully understand this yet. Overall, we think the risk of catching coronavirus from food, shop items or parcels is low. However, we know many people are keen to do what they can to reduce the risk, so we’ve given some options of things you could do.

To protect yourself when shopping (for people you live with):

  • Keep 2 meters away from other people.
  • Do not touch your face after touching objects like trolleys, baskets, products on shelves or card readers.
  • Clean your hands thoroughly before and after shopping.
  • Wash all fresh fruit and vegetables and leave to dry.
  • You could transfer food products into your own containers and throw away the container they came in.
  • Continue to avoid touching your face at home, especially after touching products brought back from the shop.

To protect yourself when receiving a delivery:

  • Delivery people should minimise contact during delivery – they should leave parcels on the doorstep, not ask for physical signatures, and step back 2 meters if the you answer the door. They may also wear gloves.
  • Delivery people should be following the general government advice very strictly when working, to prevent catching or spreading coronavirus.
  • You should avoid answering the door – ask the delivery person to leave the parcel on the doorstep and collect it when they’ve left.
  • You should wash your hands thoroughly after receiving the delivery.
  • Wash all fresh fruit and vegetables and leave to dry.
  • You could transfer food products into your own containers and throw away the container they came in.
  • Continue to avoid touching your face at home, especially after touching products brought back from the shop.
  • If getting a take-away, transfer the food into your own container or plate/bowl and reheat thoroughly.
  • Always wash your hands thoroughly before eating.

The most important way to reduce the risk of catching coronavirus is to follow the general guidance on staying at home, keeping your hands clean, and not touching your face.

Tell us about your experience

You can help improve support for people with blood cancer by completing our impact of coronavirus survey. The results will help us understand the impact on people with blood cancer and help us support clinicians and the NHS.

Keep updated about coronavirus and blood cancer

Join our mailing list for key updates about coronavirus for people with blood cancer, what we're doing to help, and ways you can help, including campaigns you may be interested in.

Support for you

Call our free and confidential helpline on 0808 2080 888 from Monday to Friday, 10am to 7pm, and Saturday to Sunday, 10am to 1pm.

We are currently receiving a very high volume of calls related to coronavirus, so if you're not able to get through straight away, please leave a message and we'll get back to you as soon as we can.

You can also email us if you prefer to get in contact that way. We'll usually get back to you within two working days, but due to the current rate of calls and emails we are currently receiving it may take us longer.

Talk to other people with blood cancer on our Online Community Forum – there is a group for coronavirus questions and support.

You can also find out what's helping other people affected by blood cancer through coronavirus and beyond in our pages on living well with or after blood cancer.

The following companies have provided funding for our coronavirus support, but have had no further input: AbbVie, AstraZeneca, Celgene, Gilead, Incyte, Kyowa Kirin, Novartis, Pfizer, Sanofi, Takeda.