CHILDREN and young people who were considered clinically vulnerable to coronavirus will no longer have to shield in Wales.
The change comes following advice from the UK’s chief medical officers, after a UK Government study found that children and young people previously considered to be clinically extremely vulnerable to the virus were at very low risk of becoming seriously unwell or dying from the virus.
This decision means around 2,700 children and young people will no longer need to shield, should shielding be re-introduced.
All children and young people affected by this change will receive a letter from the chief medical officer explaining that while they are no longer considered clinically extremely vulnerable to the effects of infection with Covid-19, they should continue to take action to minimise their risk of contracting the virus.
“A small number” of children and young people will still need to shield, should the policy return, said Eluned Morgan, the Welsh Government’s minister for health and social services.
“Whilst all children and young people are being removed from the shielding patient list, there remains a small number in this group who may have been advised by their own specialists to isolate or reduce their social contact because of their medical condition or treatment,” she said.
“Where this is the case, children and young people are advised to continue to follow the advice of their own clinician.”
“We have taken a cautious, data-driven approach throughout this pandemic and continue to do so,” said Ms Morgan. “We have looked carefully at the data from the past 18 months and are reassured that children and young people previously considered clinically extremely vulnerable should no longer be included on the shielding patient list due to the risk of serious illness or death from coronavirus being extremely low.
“Children and young people have been severely affected by the pandemic, with many missing school and meeting family and friends.
“The change to the shielding patient list will ensure that only people who really need to follow this advice stay on the list.
“We are still learning about the impacts of coronavirus infection, including long covid, and I encourage everyone in Wales to continue to do all they can to minimise the risk of catching the virus and help keep Wales and their loved ones safe”.