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Vulnerable groups

This guidance may change and people are advised to check often to keep up with the latest advice.

If you are required to self-isolate and you live with a clinically vulnerable or clinically extremely vulnerable person please refer to our guidance on self-isolation.

The Isle of Man Government's priority is to protect the health of the Island's community and help everyone to stay safe.

Following the outbreak of COVID-19, Public Health advised those individuals that fell into the clinically vulnerable and clinically extremely vulnerable groups (group categories are outlined below) to stay at home as much as possible and to avoid any face-to-face contact. This is because they are at a high risk of severe illness from coronavirus.

As a result of the measures government put in place to restrict the spread of COVID-19, we now have no known cases in the Island. This means that the risk for any of us of catching COVID-19 here is now extremely low. As a result, the government has updated its guidance for those clinically classed as vulnerable and extremely vulnerable.

Updated guidance

Although we cannot guarantee that anyone is 100% safe from any risk of COVID-19, the risk is now low enough for people in the clinically vulnerable and clinically extremely vulnerable groups to start going about their lives again.

We are rapidly heading towards our new Manx normal, and as social distancing measures have now been lifted, you can start doing those things that you did before, without restriction. We recommend you still continue to adhere to  good hygiene practice.

It is acknowledged that some people may be worried about spending more time out of their house which is understandable. However, there is a real risk attached to staying locked down and isolated as the risk to health from extended isolation is now more than the risk from COVID-19 in the community. When out and about, it is for you to decide where you are comfortable being and who you are comfortable being with. If you do want to keep people at an arm’s length for the time being, then that is for you to decide.  

If you have any concerns about what this could mean for any medical or health condition you have, you may wish to discuss this with your doctor, consultant or other healthcare provider.

If you are in work, you should discuss your safe return to work with regards to COVID-19 with your employer.

Group categories

People falling into the vulnerable group include those:

  • aged 70 or older (regardless of medical conditions)
  • under 70 with an underlying health condition listed below (i.e. anyone instructed to get a flu jab as an adult each year on medical grounds):
    • chronic (long-term) respiratory diseases, such as asthma, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), emphysema or bronchitis
    • chronic heart disease, such as heart failure
    • chronic kidney disease
    • chronic liver disease, such as hepatitis
    • chronic neurological conditions, such as Parkinson’s disease, motor neurone disease, multiple sclerosis MS), a learning disability or cerebral palsy
    • diabetes
    • problems with your spleen – for example, sickle cell disease or if you have had your spleen removed
    • a weakened immune system as the result of conditions such as HIV and AIDS, or medicines such as steroid tablets or chemotherapy
    • being seriously overweight (a body mass index (BMI) of 40 or above)
  • who are pregnant

People falling into the extremely vulnerable group include:

  • solid organ transplant recipients
  • people with specific cancers
  • people with cancer who are undergoing active chemotherapy
  • people with lung cancer who are undergoing radical radiotherapy
  • people with cancers of the blood or bone marrow such as leukaemia, lymphoma or myeloma who are at any stage of treatment
  • people having immunotherapy or other continuing antibody treatments for cancer
  • people having other targeted cancer treatments which can affect the immune system, such as protein kinase inhibitors or PARP inhibitors
  • people who have had bone marrow or stem cell transplants in the last 6 months, or who are still taking immunosuppression drugs
  • people with severe respiratory conditions including all cystic fibrosis, severe asthma and severe COPD
  • people with rare diseases and inborn errors of metabolism that significantly increase the risk of infections (such as SCID, homozygous sickle cell)
  • people on immunosuppression therapies sufficient to significantly increase risk of infection
  • women who are pregnant with significant heart disease, congenital or acquired

Flu jab

Currently there is no vaccine available to protect against COVID-19. There is a vaccine to protect against seasonal flu and the best way to avoid catching and spreading flu is by having the flu vaccination before the flu season starts. The flu vaccine is likely to be available from September 2020; and it is recommended that those in the vulnerable and extremely vulnerable groups have the flu vaccine this year. The flu vaccine won’t protect you from COVID-19 but it will reduce your risk of becoming ill with flu and potentially needing hospital treatment.

Staying up to date

These are unsettling times with a great deal of information which frequently changes as more is known about this new virus. You can keep up to date with all the latest changes via the regular news briefings (e.g. local radio), this webpage or by calling the COVID-19 telephone helpline (686262).