Most people at very high risk from COVID-19 (coronavirus) will be protected against the virus once they have been fully vaccinated.
If you have been vaccinated, you can begin to return to doing some of the things you used to do. This is called a 'vaccine bonus'.
If you have not been offered a vaccine, talk to your GP or hospital care team. They will help you to get a vaccine as soon as possible if you are at very high risk from COVID-19.
If your child has a pre-existing health condition, talk to your GP about how best to protect them.
How to protect yourself if you've not been vaccinated
stay at home as much as possible
follow the advice on how you can protect yourself from COVID-19
do not have visitors to your home except for essential reasons, such as someone who is caring for you
be careful if you meet with people from other households
ask friends or family to get any shopping or medicine you need
wear a face covering when you meet with anyone indoors – ask them to wear one also if they cannot keep a 2 metre distance
get community support if you need it
use the phone if you need to contact your GP or other services
do not attend gatherings where you can't keep a 2 metre distance between you and other people
do not have any contact with anyone who is unwell, especially if they have symptoms of COVID-19
do not use public transport, if possible
do not shake hands with other people
Phone your GP if you have any symptoms of COVID-19.
The risk of catching COVID-19 is low if you go for a walk or a drive and you keep away from other people.
Staying at home
Staying at home and reducing contact with other people can be difficult if you have not been vaccinated.
It may affect your mood and feelings. You may feel low, worried or have problems sleeping.
Things you can try to help you stay well
- Keep yourself mobile - get up and move around as much as possible.
- Go for a walk or meet people outdoors but keep a distance of 2 metres between you and other people.
- Follow our advice on exercising indoors.
- Stick to a routine each day.
- Stay in touch with friends or family by phone or online.
If you live in a long-term residential care facility, talk to your carer about exercise and activities. They can help you decide what the safest option is for you.
What the people you live with need to do
Other people you live with can protect you by:
- washing their hands properly when they come into the house
- following the advice on social distancing and hand hygiene at home
- spending as little time as possible in shared rooms, such as the kitchen and sitting areas
- opening windows to let fresh air into shared spaces
- using separate towels, including hand towels and tea towels
- cleaning cutlery, dishes and pans thoroughly
- cleaning a shared bathroom each time they use it - wiping the surfaces they have touched
- cleaning objects and surfaces they often touch with the usual cleaning products, such as door handles, kettles and phones
- being careful about social distancing when they are out of the house, this keeps everyone safe
It's OK to interact in the way you usually do with anyone you live with who is also at very high risk from COVID-19 and is staying at home.
Prevent the spread of COVID-19
If someone you live with gets symptoms of COVID-19 or is told they are a close contact they should avoid contact with others immediately.
Avoid sharing toothbrushes.
Do not share food and drinks someone else has been consuming. For example, taking a bite from a piece of food or drinking from the same bottle or cup.
It is also OK to use items that someone else in the house has used after they have been washed. For example, cutlery, dishes and similar items.
If people you live with are putting you at risk
People in your household may be behaving in ways that put you at risk.
If you are worried about this, talk to them about your concerns.
They may not be able, or willing, to change their behaviours. If this is the case, you may need to think about alternatives to living with them.
Telephone support for older people
ALONE have a support line for people concerned about COVID-19 or having difficulties. Phone: 0818 22 20 24, Monday to Friday, 8am to 8pm.
Last updated: 15 June 2021 at 9.55am