No longer need to shield: Hi all, I’ve... - Asthma UK communi...

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No longer need to shield


Hi all,

I’ve been shielding for the last 8 weeks under advice from my consultant and the government. However, I’ve woken up this morning to a text message from GovUK to say that I no longer need to shield. I’m just wondering has anybody else had this? I do have a diagnosis of severe asthma and I am currently on mepo.

49 Replies

I would maybe look into that more. Where did your original texts/letters come from? My texts were from NHS coronavirus service and letters from NHS directly and GP. Some people may well be told that, after doctors making judgements, they don't need to shield. But I'd want to make sure it's from a reputable source - some texts going out under gov name aren't.

in reply to twinkly29

I agree. I am a mild risk asthmatic but I take the doctor's advice regarding this Crisis extremely serious

in reply to twinkly29

Thank you for your reply. It came from GovUK- I have never received a text from these before, but a lot of my messages regarding coronavirus have been from various numbers. All of my letters have been either from my consultant and GP too. I’m going to speak to my GP/Consultant (whoever I can get hold of) this morning and ask. I’m happy to go back to work however, if this is a mistake then I’d rather be safe.

No, not me, not yet. I am surprised by this though. So must you be! The government website still says until the 30th of June.

I did read somewhere that they were revising the list of conditions for the shielding group, but you would have thought there would have been some kind of announcement before notifications went out.

What will you do? Will you continue to shield?

I think if I get one one I will. The virus hasn’t changed and my condition hasn’t changed, so my routines won’t change.

in reply to Troilus

I’m going to speak to either my GP or Consultant. I have read up and the criteria has not yet changed so from I understand I should still be considered shielded.

Depending on what either of the above say, and if work allows (which I think they will as they’re very understanding), I will continue to shield. As much as it’s killing me to stay home all the time, I need to consider my own health and the effect it would have on my family if I was to become extremely ill.

in reply to So97

The criteria did change but it was over a month ago so seems strange it's taken that long. The criteria now includes being on steroids (4 times in six months)

It's amazing that a faceless bureaucracatic body have such healing powers over night. If I had know this I would have joined their lost 31 years ago. Yes I've received a similar message this morning. I have to joke about because it is beyond incompetence. I will be speaking to my GP surgery about this.

in reply to Darloguy07

It’s such a scary time! I’ve only been living with asthma for 2 years (it’s still not quite controlled) so to me this is unbelievably scary. I’m going to speak to my GP as I don’t think it’s right. Hope you get the outcome you’re after from your GP.

It is worrying and potentially dangerous. I haven't been able to speak to my Asthma Nurse today. I have a telephone appointment with her Wednesday next week. My surgery was quick to say it hadn't come from them. Talk about covering their backs. I am going to call the Asthma UK helpline after 9am and see what they say. I hope you are able to get some guidance from your GP. Try not to worry to much about it. I'm going to continue shielding until a health professional advises differently.

in reply to Darloguy07

Thank you. It’s good to hear that I’m not the only one concerned about a decision being made for me by a non-health professional.

I’ve spoken to my GP and although he said that this message has not come from themselves, he believes that I still clearly fit the criteria for sheilding. He believes this could be a mistake and is going to write to them (whoever makes the shielding list) and ask that my name be put back on immediately, as my circumstances have not changed.

I've looked back at my texts re shielding and the shielding text came from the NHS Coronavirus Service. Errors have been made along the way but if your consultant wanted you to shield I don't see how a remote algorithm has deselected you...probably an error. Definitely speak to the consultant who advised shielding.

in reply to Poobah

YES errors are real a young friend never got a shielding letter but had drs app this week and was told she should have been ( I said at the time she should have ).

That's interesting as potentially they were missed initially (although not everyone would have been identified directly by the NHS in the first round) but the GP clearly didn't do their job in going through patient lists from the beginning of April in order to check and identify people!

in reply to twinkly29

I fit into this as had no NHS letter as yet, but had letters from hospital saying to shield. I don't trust any of them in all honesty government and gp. I have been taught how to do my xolair injections at home, as for steroids been on 30mg for at least 18 weeks in past 8 months so work that out. My diagnosis is severe and under secondary and tertiary care.

in reply to spookylou

That may be because being on biologics (the xolair) isn't in the main criteria according to the NHS but the British Thoracic Society (I think it's them) do include it - so in your situation it's possible your letter came from your hospital. It doesn't make it any less valid, people were flagged by different sources. Of course being on high dose steroids for a long time should probably have flagged you to the NHS too but perhaps the being on xolair meant you were "ok'd" for them and then doctors checking lists correctly added you.

in reply to twinkly29

Yeah spoke to hospital today for clarification and told the NHS letter is a generic one and then my hospital specialist sent me one then another one. I am seretide, sprivia, ciclesonide, uniphyllin, montelukast, terbutaline inhaler and nebs, bambuterol, certazine and xolair. Quite concerning really as I am a keyworker so would be teaching.

in reply to spookylou

The specialist ones count in the same way the NHS ones do. People were added by GPs and specialists.

I am glad you have been given good advice by your GP. I have just tweeted to see if others have received the same message. The message came from the National Shielding Service.

The additional twist for me is that I developed COVID-19 the day I began to shield. I have been self-isolating for the past nine weeks. I am still showing symptoms. My GP and Asthma nurse says it will take time and rest. Have a good weekend take care. Tom

Hi there, if you don’t mind me asking, what we’re your symptoms and also were you tested for covid at the time? And how did it affect your asthma? The reason I ask is that I think I might have have mild covid 10 weeks ago (sore throat, mild fever and exhaustion - but no cough). I wasn’t tested though but since that mild illness my breathing and asthma has not been right. Ended with a trip to A&E about 3 wks ago for tests. All showed that my chest is clear and nothing wrong!

Since then, whilst I feel better in myself my asthma and breathing are still not totally back to normal.I have been a mild asthmatic all my life. Any light you can shed on your journey would me helpful!

Happy to share my experience with you.

I was diagnosed by NHS 111, which was further confirmed by my GP. My symptoms were:-


Continueous cough

Breathlessness whilst doing any physical activity like getting in & out of the bath to use the shower.

More confused than normal


Muscular pain

Adobminal pain

Chest pain & tightness

No energy or interest

Loss of appetite /skipping meals

Additional sleeping issues

Diarrhoea [the Government /NHS don't recognise this as a COVID-19 symptom. The world health organisation does and is recognised by many countries around the world].

Feeling extremely cold

Whilst I was diagnosed nine weeks ago I still have many of these symptoms. My GP and Asthma Nurse advise that it will take time and plenty of rest to enable my recovery. They are monitoring my health via regular telephone reviews.

It affected/affecting my Asthma causing me to be using my Ventoline inhaler 4-6 times a day. Disturbs my sleep due to chest pain and coughing. Increases in chest pain and tightness. I live on the first floor with 15 stairs up to my flat I find it difficult to go down and up the stairs. Whilst I'm staying at home my letter box is in the main entrance lobby so I have to go and check that.

Whilst there's a lot of media coverage around COVID-19 testing. Testing was never offered or suggested to me.

If you are concerned about your Asthma and want to seek advice I found the Asthma UK, Asthma Expert Nurse helpline very helpful. I phoned them yesterday and received helpful advice and suggestions. I had never spoken about my Asthma for so long or in such detail.

0300 222 5800 Lines open Monday-Friday 9 am - 5pm.

I will be following the advice given and exploring her suggestions.

I'm not sure if this will help you in anyway. Try not to worry too much. Take care of yourself and stay safe.

Am so sorry to read this and thank you very much for taking the time. It is incredibly helpful and interesting, esp things like diahorrea which I also had that symptom, plus headaches. Whilst I didnt have the severity of your symptoms (poor you it sounds awful) and I can't be sure until antibody tests are commonplace, I would like to think that it was Covid that has affected my asthma, now worsened by this hightened, odd pollen season. I was also needing my inhalers up to 6 times a day. I have always been fit and able to run distances, and only ever needed my inhalers when I had a chest infection.

I am now in regular touch with the GP and my asthma nurse, they have been good and following 2 weeks on steroids and antibiotics, I am now on Fostair (200/6), montelukast and it seems to be improving...I think. HOwever, some days I still need the ventolin throughout.

It is more the worry and not knowing why my asthma got worse I think! But thanks again for your time and take care too. x

initially i think the shielding letters were sent out automatically using information held on databases.

i don't know how true it is, but i've been led to believe gps have been reviewing the shielding list on an individual basis for a while now and identifying who shouldn't be on the list. and those that shouldn't be on the list have had their risk reduced and told to stop shielding.

there have been other posts on here of people whos risk has been downgraded and told to stop shielding.

personally i think it nuts to tell people they're high risk then say nah not really, get back to work. the mental health toll is incredible. for me, i'm now continually anxious ill be getting a text or letter reducing my risk.

Yes, GPs are reviewing cases on the shielding list to see if there are any errors. But I would then expect an explanatory letter rather than a text to say that I didn't have to shield anymore.

107,000 patients have been identified and will be taken off the list. It would be disappointing if only a text was sent without proper explanation.

But if a consultant has identified and advised a patient to shield I don't think a GP should override that decision.

I initially got a letter saying I fell into the shielding category, 2 weeks ago I got a call from my surgery saying that they have been reviewing all the people initially put into shielding and looking at their medical history in detail. I have been moved out of shielding, I got a follow up letter with an apology stating that an error had been made by the health board and that due to my recent medical history I shouldn't have been placed in shielding.

Hi, a good friend of mine is a gp and is as frustrated by all the confusion as we are. Apparently, gp's weren't told to select patients who could be taken off the extremely vulnerable list, but were given the names of some of their patients no longer deemed to be at risk and told to ring those patients to tell them. The government selected those patients, then got gp's to call them and tell them to go back to work. My friend was given 240 names and 48 hours to let them all know. She did query some of those names, but was given no authority to reclassify those she deemed to still be at risk. She was really upset by it all, as were the patients who received that call. On the plus side though, another friend with only one lung was classified as not vulnerable. Her gp, however, actually got through to a real person at Gov.Uk and had her added to the list. So it's always worth double-checking with your gp/consultant/nurse before taking any messages or letters as being correct.

I mentioned yesterday on a different thread that the possibility exists that they may refine the list of people who need to shield, but I'm not aware that they have actually done it. I think though that it's probably important to keep in mind that we all still need to keep basic social distancing practices in place. Shielding is really just an extreme form of that where you are expected to keep away from EVERYONE including people in your own home. It may be that the text is the start of them relaxing shielding, but regardless, I think you should make your own choices about how you make sure any possible transmission route to yourself is cut off.

My Doctors Surgery have had numerous calls regarding similar texts today. They believe the texts are a scam and should be ignored. So if you have received one please ignore it and continue shielding.

Because I had a Respiratory Infection three weeks before lockdown I have been shielding over three months already and I have to say I’m quite sick of it. Like you I too am on Mepo yet oddly still having a dreadful hayfever season and I have taken it on myself to once a week walk to the village shop and get a Sunday paper and also go out in my car for a drive round the villages and back just to get out as right now my mental health is suffering way more than I can cope with being away from my busy job. I have not year had a text or anything saying to discontinue shielding but by remaining sensible and keeping distance wearing my lovely homemade pretty mask I’m happy to start venturing out.

I would contact your gp to see if it is genuine. There have been a few scam texts, thou I don’t know why people would want to do it with a situation like this. Your gp is the one to take to.

So97 I suggest you check the address is it Gov.UK or GovUK - I believe government addresses have a dot.... Google the address might show it up as a scam.

Stay safe.

I am in the shielding group

Asthma on it's own may not be a reason to be on the extremely vulnerable list

But if you are on an immune system depressant as well that might be eligible

I am also diabetic and on an injectable immune system suppressant for psoriasis

The text should have come from the NHS Coronavirus Service not the National Coronavirus Service. The more I think about this, the more I think it's a scam.

I received a second letter dated 5th may it was from severe asthma clinic,i finished having mepo in december because it wasnt doing anything for me .

I think this maybe a scam have seen it on other sites I am on. I wouldn’t click the link and definitely take your GPs advice.

Funnily enough I got a 3 page letter from my respiratory consultant yesterday saying I should continue to shield (I've got severe asthma) until end of June. My reaction was I was going to anyway without being told. Common sense really, still hundreds dying each day, no cure and no vaccine. I'm fortunate that I can work from home and my husband gets the shopping. I think we need to use or own judgement on this. I spent most of last year with uncontrolled asthma so I'm in no rush to test the situation.

I spoke to my GP yesterday morning and he reassured me I most definitely should still be shielding- so I will continue. I’ve since done some looking into the number that the message came from, and it’s definitely a scam message. ‘GovUK’ is not one of the numbers used to communicate with people shielding. It’s either a mobile number (ends in 357) or ‘Gov.UK’. I don’t understand why people would even create such scams.

As one of the one and a half million shielded, I have read and listened to the news and statistics and have made my own mind up to isolate, that’s where I am and that’s where I’m staying.

I spoke with my consultant on the phone this week and she is also asthmatic!! she is working on an acute ward as well as holding clinics at the hospital. She confirmed that shielding criteria was decided by Asthma UK very early and before the actual lockdown was confirmed by the govt which is why my letter was dated 21 March!! I don't consider myself particularly ill as I am well controlled and work hard at my lung fitness all year round - my peak flow is an average of 96% of my target (gender, age and height). she advised that I should continue to shield (no exceptions except OK to go for exercise) and to expect to be told to continue until end of August!!!!

in reply to Birthday60

That seems strange, if only because of those few days where Asthma UK expanded the guidelines.

in reply to Paradigm

Whats strange? The process of advising the most vulnerable was started on Friday 20th March and announced on Monday 23 March. Good GP's had the criteria and contacted the most vulnerable quickly to avoid any confusion. It was always going to be extended as they thugs anything longer than12 weeks would have been too difficult to accept.

in reply to Birthday60

It's strange that Asthma UK drew up the original criteria very early on, then changed the criteria for all of a few days before reverting with a post saying they were in discussion with the government about it.

I'm not surprised that 12 weeks has been extended, it's always been a made up number.

Although Scotland's aren't under review until 18th June. My doctor said to ignore what England is doing as we are taking a slower pace, but looking at the death rate here it's hard to imagine it would go beyond that for the likes of me.

Honestly, you received a letter to tell you to shield, unless you receive a letter telling you you no longer need to do so. I would ignore any text. A text is not official.

Even those who received a text in the first place telling them to shield would have received a letter to tell them to do so. The letter is evidence for employers, not a text. Unless GP or hospital tell you shielding is over carry on

Before making any changes speak with your GP.

That is terrible thing to do why would someone want to scam people like that! Its peoples lives they are messing with. Glad you investigated it keep sheilding keep safe x

I had something similar ( email ) but was from HMRC about overpayment of tax, had to go to Gov UK website & enter a lot of details, I was suspicious because there were some spelling mistakes & my gut reaction was it wasn't right. We t onto website & found an area about phishing ( scam ) emails & to send them to this address

This opened a new email & I copied my email into it & sent it off. Email came back in me it was a scam & there were lots of different ones going around . Please if you can give it a go & see what happens. Chris

Official texts from Government show as Gov_UK

National Cyber Security Centre (part of GCHQ) has set up a


To report a spam text forward the text to 7726.

You will not be charged for sending texts to 7726. An easy way to remember '7726' is that they are the numbers on your telephone keypad that spell out the word 'SPAM'.

Thank you. I’ve just forwarded the message.

I had a text a couple of days ago to say I no longer need to sheild.

No explanation. I have asthma and bronchiectasis.

I won't be going into shops etc any time soon but as a self employed hairdresser I'm hoping to get back to work in July. I am very nervous about it though.


Hi there would you be able to send us a screen shot of the text you received so we can look into this for you. Thanks, Please send it to Helpline Contactform:

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