Are we all shielding?: On Feb 17th I was... - AF Association

AF Association

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Are we all shielding?


On Feb 17th I was quite shocked to receive a shielding letter. I queried this with my GP surgery. The first GP I spoke to said it was a clear mistake and they would get it reversed and to ring a week later to check that had happened, which I did. Five days later I received a letter saying on balance AF is now a significant risk factor and I should shield. I don’t have any other clinical issues which would raise my risk.

I have PAF and although I have pretty much exhausted my cardioversion options, I still have only been in AF for under 24 hours in the last 4 years. When I am in sinus rhythm I don’t have symptoms but am on 200mg flecainide a day.

I am fighting this because I have just got a short term contract which I will lose if the shielding letter stands - despite the fact the shield is advisory not compulsory

So, if I may ask, in the UK, are we all shielded?


62 Replies

Unless my wife’s hidden it, I’ve not received a letter!

I haven't received a letter and my surgery is pretty much on the ball ! My husband did...early onset Parkinsonism.

Nope and I'm not expecting to get a letter.

Never been told to at anytime, no letters or during Cardiologist telephone check up appointments.


Never! And age added still no shielding letter.

vjfers in reply to BobD

Nor I, my GP is excellent. At 76 given first Pfizer jab 6 weeks ago. Never any suggestion of shielding.

BobDVolunteer in reply to vjfers

Parallel journey vj. I'm 76 in two weeks and had mine recently.

Sebhel in reply to BobD

I'm 74. Asymptomatic AF 6 years - nothing else.

Apixaban + 1.25 Bisoprolol

They called me in for jab on January 7, well before my age group

At the time I thought my AF put me in at risk group


Seb 🙂

SW London

Gilli54 in reply to BobD

Not me either. Interestingly, my 33 year old son, 4/5 months post ablation, received a text from his GP offering him the vaccination. He hasn’t been shielding or asked to shield at any point. He was very taken aback as he wasn’t considering it at the moment. Thinking he would be much more down the line. So he’s unsure whether it might interfere with his recovery, or whether he should have it. He’s currently feeling very well. He’s worried that it might trigger something. He lives in the south west.

BobDVolunteer in reply to Gilli54

Go for it.

No. I have always been told that my AF is not a risk factor in this pandemic. I have already had my first injection but that was because of my age not because of my various conditions.

I’ve had constant letters and texts throughout the last year. I’ve not shielded, I’ve worked the whole time.

I’ve had my first jab, just waiting on 2nd now.

No i haven't been told to shield either in the first lockdown shielding or recently when they wrote to even more people after they had reviewed shielding guidelines. I have other underlying gastric issues plus afib but not considered to be at further risk apparently,

I have never qualified to be be on the official list of those vulnerable people who should shield during the pandemic. However with very symptomatic P-AF and Asthma, commons sense dictated that I should 'shield ' voluntarily and I have been doing so for over a year.

I am over 70 with 10 hour episode of P-AF ever 10 days causing breathlessness and a high heart rate , I didn't need any official letter to tell me I would not cope well if I catch C19 :-) .

Hidden in reply to doodle68

Hi doodle68

As a matter of interest, did your surgery send you a shielding letter?

Rhiannonimity1 in reply to Hidden

Hi Badger. No, it wasn’t the surgery. It was a generic NHS letter. My surgery said they didn’t fully understand the algorithm that had been used so they did find it difficult to comment.

doodle68 in reply to Hidden

Hi Badger :-) no I didn't receive a letter neither did I expect to do so because I wasn't on the list as I stated in my post above.


Permanent AFib, 72. No shielding letter.

You don’t seem to be on the government’s list of extremely vulnerable

people who should shield. GPs can add people to the shielding list on a case by case basis

Rhiannonimity1 in reply to Hidden

Thanks Badger. That’s really useful to know.

No and I have asthma and PAF which is known in my case to be triggered by virus/inflammation and leaky mitral valve. But at 76 I am probably supposed to shield anyway. However my daughter who has lung problems and is overweight has been given the vaccine early (she wouldn’t tell me if told to shield!) so there may be another factor?

Certainly not been told to shield or had a letter advising me to. They bought my jab forward because of afib (not in age group to have it yet) which I'm very happy about.

I hope you don't lose your work contract because of the letter. Sometimes such communication is sent out by mistake - the joys of modern day computers !

Good luck with it. I suggest doing your own research online and contacting your GP again.


No letter for me either, 76 with PAF but I decided last March to shield myself and hubby who was advised to shield for a different health issue. The letter in his case came from the NHS via, I suppose, a national database.

I have been shielding but I am on the original shielding list issued by the NHS because I am immune suppressed rather than AF. So far I have gotten about 10 letters, 5 emails and numerous texts - from both NHS Direct & GP surgery.

I’m interested in why you would lose a contract if you advised to shield?

It is an 8 week contract and the company feel that they cannot protect my vulnerability without me working from home, which cannot be done. They are deciding whether to terminate the contract or put me on SSP.

Tough one! Can you ask your GP to write you a letter saying you are not in the group identified as needing to shield? You may have to pay for the letter but it’s not usually a big sum £8-15?

It does seem to be a thing that people are not shielded for AF unless they have another condition. I will go back to my dr next week.

Nope never had a letter telling me to shield and I do have other conditions as well as P-Afib. I have had the first vaccination early. I was told am in the vulnerable group. My manager arranged for me to work from home but am hoping the first vaccination once fully effective will mean this can alter.

If your GP cant explain it and didnt put you one the list Id be inclined to contact the NHS dept responsible for the shielding list. Sounds like it might be an error.


I am in paroxysmal AF too, am 64 and get my episodes roughly once every two months. Also, why send the letter now? Why not last year? Makes no sense.

A lot of new conditions have been added to the original list. If you feel confident in not shielding then I would take it as you said , recommend not compulsory

No I have had no letter but at 60 I have had my first jab already, I thought maybe I was/ am in group 6 but all my friends 60 and over fit or not have have had jab or appointment. It sounds very much like an error.

No letter. My GP daughter in law has actually just told me that along with mild asthma AF has now been removed from the group 6 list if you do not have any of the usual things that go along with AF. Fortunately I have had my jab!

Hi rhian. Just out of interest, how do the company that are offering you the contract know that you’ve received a letter? Surely If it’s not compulsory then you don’t have to tell them?

No you don’t have to tell them. But there is a very tricky clause in my contract which talks about non disclosure of isolation and shielding. I mentioned it, feeling quite secure because it was an advisory letter, not compulsory - however the company have taken a view that they can’t allow me to work.

Would it make sense to get a letter from your GP to confirm that he/she does not believe that you should formally shield and that the generic letter from NHS appears to have been generated in error. That way, you can still declare to your potential employer and commence work. They are naturally looking to ensure your health and safety whilst under their roof.

Hi, I work in our vaccination hub and have PAF same as you, I've not received any notifications to shield. You're right to query this, good luck.

No...despite AF and other health conditions, have had no letter to shield.

AF was added to the shielding list in February, along with some other conditions, not everyone will get a letter but some will, check the link out below for more info. I have PAF and have been told by my GP the shielding is a recommendation only (I asked them after the news said the new list was online)

No letter for me either.

I have lone AF had a cardio version last November. I am 52 not shielding not considered at risk hence still not had the vaccine

I am 74 and have asymptomatic persistent AF and HF with CRT-p plus PHN (post herpetic neuralgia) pain following shingles 2+ years’ ago. I did not receive a letter to shield in the first lockdown and when I queried this with my Cardiac GP, he said he would write one for me if I wanted but it would mean I couldn’t go out at all so I declined as I wanted to be able to go out for a daily walk. I have not had any shielding letter since. I have been more or less shielding though for the past year apart from exercise as I thought it probable that I wouldn’t survive Covid. I did go out with friends (one at a time) in the summer for lunch a few times. I had my first jab over a month ago. Seems really unfair for you to lose the contract.

I haven't received one I have paf I don't mean to sound flippant but soon if you have a toothache you may be told to shield

Not me

I was diagnosed with paroxysmal afib in April 2020. About 2 weeks later I had a shielding letter and have had all the other emails and letters since then too! I don’t know where the first letter was originated from but I think it was my gp surgery! I had my jab in February I’m 68.

Just a thought. Do you have any respiratory issues, asthma, COPD or recurring chest infections, previous pneumonia etc? The latest list seems to lean towards respiratory disease patients. My mother has serious circulatory issues, including a minor stroke, an aortic aneurism and PAD, but she hasn't been told to shield whereas my father who has mild COPD and has had pneumonia in the past, has been added to the latest list.

Rhiannonimity1 in reply to AMW64

No I don’t have anything like that. The dr said it was purely down to my AF status. I have lipedema /obesity but my BMI is not over 40 and 20 years ago I was considered to be borderline gestationally diabetic ( which I noticed this morning is something they may consider relevant) ( there is some confusing info on it on the nhs shielding website). I was not gestationally diabetic with second baby and am not and have never suffered from diabetes . I have food sensitivities ( lots of them ) and that is that. Nothing else.

Just to add. I’m 53.

AMW64 in reply to Rhiannonimity1

Obesity is a risk factor though. It could just be that each diagnosis on its own is ok, but when added up together the result raises you into the "at risk" category? As you say it is only advisory that you shield, maybe you could suggest to your new employer that you could sign a disclaimer? Have you had your first jab yet? You can ask for it now you are on the list. My OH started with PAF in 2016, he is now in permanent AF with heart failure and a pacemaker fitted as his heart couldn't sustain a normal rhythm due to the PAF. Only you know how much you need to work versus keeping yourself safe. Stay safe, no job is worth losing your life for xxx

I received a letter a few days ago saying I have to sheild until 31st March. I have no more health conditions now than I did when pandemic started but never got one before x

No Shielding. I'm a 82 year old male who gets PAF every week or so. It lasts 24-48 hours unless I can get out on my trike and attempt cardioversion. Having broken a hip a few months ago in a bike accident I'm currently in regular contact with my GP. Of course I had my jab 7 weeks ago, but no suggestion that I should be taking any extra precautions.

No. My GP said that I was not on the vulnerable list.

I did receive a text saying I was to be shielded and therefore had priority online shopping delivery slots. I have afib/tachycardia bouts, but also surgery 4 years ago for a brain tumour for which instil have checks. I did read that afib was a contributory shielding factor.

No. Not been told too. I'm in persistent AF and have been for 2 years now. I'm in my 50's and worked throughout the pandemic, busier than ever, especially this year so far. I could not have shielded even if advised. I'd be penniless. There were no compensation schemes for people like me. I've been very careful. I work alone. But the NHS don't know that.

Didn't get a letter to shield. I've had 2 ablations and a few cardioversions and now waiting for a 3rd under general anesthetic.

I'm 56 and still waiting for my first covide vacation.

Did receive a letter from the dvla in December, that they have now revoked psv, hgv and now my car license. I have appealed against the loss of my car license with the help of my consultant. But still waiting for news.

I have never had a shielding letter, but i decided to self-shield right from the start, and have been nowhere except to the med centre since last march. I have AF (25/6 years) type 2 diabetes; overweight, low thyroid function, and the tail end of ME. i am 73 and have had my first jab.

I was diagnosed with PAF 6 years ago. I’ve not been advised to shield, and wouldn’t expect to be.

Morning I have very troublesome AF which has seen me hospitalised many times. I had an ablation last year but it hasn’t solved it. I haven’t received a shielding letter though? Maybe it depends where you live?

Shielding is advice, not the law, take the usual precautions that apply to everyone and do the job. I cannot see that you can be penalised by your job as you are not infectious, you are the same as you were before the letter, if you were accepted for the job with your AF then nothing has changed. Good luck, try not to stress.

When we went into Lockdown 1 last March I had to stay at home for the required 12 weeks. Although I have PAF the only reason I could not go to work was because I was over 70 and the Government was asking that age group to stay at home. My GP did not consider me a shielded person. I have had 2 telephone consultations with the cardiologist in the past year and he never mentioned about shielding. I would query why they have made this decision about you.

My surgery has not issued any shielding letter for my PAF, which I am Asymptomatic. I could find no evidence on the web to suggest that AF is a significant risk - perhaps if Heart failure or other condition may push you into shielding.

I'm shielding but I also have history of heart surgery.

I will become 90 next month and am on treatment for AF, but have had no letter advising shielding. My husband got a letter last week. He is 92 with no significant medical issues - surely he should have been contacted long ago if he warrants it now.

I shielded the first time due to af, CHD, lung condition and autoimmune condition and was advised again to shield this time but I couldn’t afford to be on ssp so I have worked through this time (work in a hospital). And get my second dose of the vaccine on Saturday through work.

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