Keeping safe

People with primary and secondary immunodeficiency are all too aware that the health risk to them from the COVID-19 virus has not gone away.

Whilst the COVID vaccination programme has helped weaken the link between COVID infection and developing serious illness for many in society this is not the case for people with immunodeficiency, especially those in the clinically extremely vulnerable group who were previously asked to shield. 

For many in this group it is unlikely that you will be fully protected by COVID-19 vaccination or a previous COVID-19 infection. We hope you will have had some benefit, but the research is still on-going as to what this means in terms of protection against the virus and it is important to know that you are still at risk of catching COVID-19 and becoming unwell with it.  You should remain cautious and take steps to lower your risk of contracting COVID.

Managing risk

People will make different decisions as to how to best manage their situation.  Whatever you choose to do, make sure that you feel comfortable with your own decisions, that you don't feel pressurised into doing anything you are uncomfortable with, and equally that you don't feel guilty about doing things that are important to you. Our recommendation is to do what is comfortable for you, don't feel pressurised into conforming to other peoples' behaviours. Everyone deals with the risk posed by COVID in their own way, don't go out of your own comfort zone just to please others.

The DHSC published official guidance on the 24th December 2021: COVID-19: guidance for people whose immune system means they are at higher risk.

Here are our tips to staying safe:

  • Keep up the mask wearing, social distancing and washing your hands regularly.
  • Have good ventilation at home or when indoors and avoid poorly ventilated or crowded places as much as possible
  • Work from home if possible. Please find a letter you can use to explain your situation to your employer.
  • Look out for signs and symptoms of COVID infection.
  • Do regular lateral flow tests for yourself and close family members.
  • If you test positive on a lateral flow test book a PCR test as soon as possible and contact your centre. A PCR is needed for you to access the COVID treatments, such as anti-viral therapy and COVID neutralising monoclonal antibody therapies.  
  • Keep gatherings to a minimum. Ask others to do lateral flow testing before meeting up with you.
  • Feel empowered to say no to invitations for events you don‚Äôt feel comfortable attending.
  • Keep yourself up to date with the levels of COVID infection in your area or somewhere you may want to visit. The BBC website has a useful postcode checker.

Stay safe and take care.

Looking after your emotional wellbeing and mental health

Dealing with COVID, the risk it can pose to physical health, and the uncertainties about how effective the vaccines are for individuals with immunodeficiency has made it difficult for some people to look to the future, to plan, to feel hopeful or even happy. It might also be impacting on your employment or personal relationships. Uncertainty can also cause anxiety, feeling out of control, anger or sadness.

Here are some resources that may help:

Immunodeficiency UK - COVID-19 and your emotional wellbeing 

Dealing with uncertainty 

Dealing with stress and anxiety 

Posted 18th January 2022; updated 28th January 2022.