COVID-19: guidance for people whose immune system means they are at higher risk

Given below is an extract of the guidance from the Government website, as at 1st April 2022.


The NHS is offering new monoclonal antibody and antiviral treatments to people with COVID-19 who are at highest risk of becoming seriously ill and are 12 years of age or above. Some treatments are suitable for people aged 12 to 17.

The list is regularly reviewed and currently includes some people who have:

• an organ transplant

• chronic kidney disease (CKD) stage 4 or 5

• Down’s syndrome
• certain types of cancer or have received treatment for certain types of cancer
• sickle cell disease
• certain conditions affecting their blood
• severe liver disease
• certain autoimmune or inflammatory conditions (such as rheumatoid arthritis or inflammatory bowel disease)
• HIV or AIDS who have a weakened immune system
• inherited or acquired conditions affecting their immune system
• rare neurological conditions: multiple sclerosis, motor neurone disease, Huntington’s disease or myasthenia gravis

You should have been made aware if you might be eligible for treatments by either NHS England or your specialist consultant. If you have not been contacted, and you think you should have been, your specialist consultant will be able to confirm if you are eligible for COVID-19 treatments.

A broader group of patients (currently those aged 50 or over and those aged 18 to 49 with underlying health conditions) may also be able to take part in the national study of antivirals if they get COVID-19.


If you are eligible for COVID-19 treatments, make sure you have some tests at home so you can get tested quickly if you get symptoms of COVID-19. The main symptoms of COVID-19 include a high temperature, a new continuous cough or a loss of, or change to, your sense of smell or taste.

On 1 April 2022 the government changed its policy on COVID-19 testing in England. Patients eligible for COVID-19 treatments will still be able to access lateral flow tests from the government but they will no longer be automatically sent PCR tests. If you were previously sent a PCR test you can keep it, but do not use it unless asked to do so by your NHS team.

You will be sent one initial pack of lateral flow tests to keep at home. This is a test you can do at home and can be used to find out if you have COVID-19. If you have not received the lateral flow tests by 11 April but you think you may be eligible for COVID-19 treatments, you can order a pack at GOV.UK or 119 if needed. The test kits contain instructions and links to support those who need assistance in testing.

You must use lateral flow tests supplied by the government. The results of tests bought privately, such as from a supermarket or pharmacy, cannot currently be registered on GOV.UK and you will not be contacted about treatment if you test positive using these tests.

If you have COVID-19 symptoms you should take a lateral flow test immediately, even if your symptoms are mild. You must report your result on GOV.UK or by calling 119. It is important to provide your NHS number and postcode correctly (provided at the top of this letter) so you can be contacted. If your test is negative but you still have symptoms, you should take another test on each of the next 2 days (3 tests in total over 3 days).

If you test positive

If any of your lateral flow tests are positive and you have reported the result, the NHS should contact you about treatment.

If you are not contacted within 24 hours of your positive test, call your GP surgery, 111, or your specialist clinician if you have one, who can make an urgent referral.

Advice about staying at home can be found in guidance for people with symptoms of a respiratory infection including COVID-19.

If you continue to test negative and still feel unwell

If you continue to feel unwell you should contact your GP or 111. In an emergency you should call 999.

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