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Covid-19 Primary Care Resources

Defining clinical risk groups

Separating extremely vulnerable groups from those at increased risk

This information is sourced from PHE:

NHSE has defined 2 groups at higher risk of Covid 19:

1. A ‘clinically extremely vulnerable’ group:

  • Approximately 1.5 million people have been identified for inclusion in this group
  • GPs are being asked to support the process to identify those at highest clinical risk of COVID-19 using their clinical judgement and knowledge of the patient. This includes adding and removing patients from the list as appropriate
  • This group includes people with severe asthma and severe COPD which are defined on the embedded links
  • Shielding is a measure to protect these groups
  • Extremely vulnerable groups can register for government support if needed or you can refer to NHS Volunteer responders for support

2. A group who are ‘at increased risk of severe illness‘:

  • Approximately 19 million people have been identified for inclusion in this group
  • They are advised that they should rigorously follow the social distancing advice in full but they are not required to shield


PHE has produced a COVID-19 migrant health guide. Health advice for migrant patients visiting relatives abroad is here.


Published: 23/02/2021
Published: 17/02/2021

PHE Guidance and updates for GPs: Highest clinical risk patients 

Published: 04/06/2020
Published: 01/06/2020