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CEV list called into question over new guidance

27 January 2022

1.5 million people were told to shield unnecessarily under the original English guidelines, while many more who were truly at risk were not included on Clinically Extremely Vulnerable (CEV) lists reports The Daily Telegraph.

Dr Tony Williams from the consultancy Working Fit, developed a "Covid-Age" tool to estimate the risk of the virus to individuals. The tool is now officially recognised by the Scottish government.

According to his estimates, 1.5 million people need to have shielded, and a further 1.5 million at risk were not warned or placed on lists.

The largest group on the shielding list were people taking immunosuppressant drugs, but their risk of death was only 20% higher than healthy males. Whereas people medically classified as severely obese have a higher risk than people with severe asthma. Asthmatics were told to shield while bigger people weren’t.

Dr Williams said: “We realised quite quickly that people on the shielding list were not dying, while others that weren’t on it were severely at risk.

“Now is an important time to get this message across, with people coming back to work. People who are not at risk need that reassurance.

“Between 1.5 and 1.8 million were unnecessarily shielding, around the same number who should have shielded but were never warned. Many of this latter group will have died.  Politics has really messed this up.”

DR UK’s Fazilet Hadi said: “Many Disabled people are still shielding despite the withdrawal of all Government support. Government needs to drill down into the wealth of data now accumulated, use it to clarify those who are still at risk, and take measures to protect people at risk either because of their conditions, or because they cannot be vaccinated for medical reasons. Excess Covid deaths are more than statistics. They are individual lives – lives which could be saved if the Government provides support to those who continue to need it.” Access the Covid-Age tool here.