Pros and cons of "Shielding" vulnerable people as a public health policy in the UK during the COVID-19 pandemic



  • Helen Snooks, Swansea University


  • Lesley Bethell, independent (patient/public contributor)
  • Paul Moss, Birmingham University
  • Ronan Lyons, Swansea University
  • Jeremy Dale, Warwick University

Shielding was introduced across the UK in various forms to protect those at highest risk of serious harm from infection with COVID19. This policy diverged from the responses in other health systems internationally. The intention was to avoid infection with COVID19, and therefore serious illness or death; but there is little evidence about whether this was achieved, or about other unintended effects. Social isolation; depression, anxiety and self-harm; mobility and frailty may all have been adversely affected.

In this workshop we will discuss the pros and cons of this UK policy initiative, from the perspectives of a member of the public, an immunologist, a public health physician and a GP, to gain their insight on the recent and ongoing Shielding initiative in the UK.