Beginning at the end of March, the government advised some 2.2 million people who it deemed to be clinically extremely vulnerable to COVID-19 that they should shield at home for 12 weeks in order to protect themselves from the virus. For those shielding, the government offered support with food and medicine (delivered centrally) and social care (provided through local authorities). Over 3 million food deliveries have been made. A further 17 million vulnerable people were advised to take additional social distancing precautions but not shield. Of these, those requiring support with food, medicine and care were to approach local authorities for help.
The study will evaluate how effectively government identified and met the needs of vulnerable people with special reference to outcomes and variations in impact for diverse populations. Within that overall question we will examine:
- How well government identified vulnerable people
- How government protected and supported vulnerable people
- Whether government has learnt and applied lessons from its shielding programmes
In light of the wide range and significance of the government’s actions to tackle the COVID-19 crisis, we are carrying out a broad and varied programme of work. More information about our work to report on government’s response to COVID-19 can be found here.