Coronavirus treatment and protection for people at high risk

If you get coronavirus (COVID-19) and are at the highest risk of becoming seriously ill, there is treatment available. You might be at high risk if you:

We also offer COVID-19 vaccination and spring boosters for people who are eligible. A booster is a dose (extra amount) of a vaccine that increases or renews the effect of a vaccine you had earlier. Your spring booster might be your 4th or 5th vaccine. 

Some conditions or treatments might make you at highest risk of getting seriously ill from coronavirus.

You might be at highest risk of getting seriously ill from COVID-19 if you have:

  • Down's syndrome
  • certain types of cancer or have received treatment for certain types of cancer
  • sickle cell disease
  • certain conditions affecting your blood
  • stage 4 or 5 of chronic kidney disease
  • severe liver disease
  • had an organ transplant
  • certain autoimmune or inflammatory conditions (when your immune system attacks your body by mistake), such as rheumatoid arthritis or inflammatory bowel disease
  • HIV or AIDS and a weakened immune system
  • a condition that affects your immune system
  • a rare condition that affects the brain or nerves (multiple sclerosis, motor neurone disease, Huntington’s disease or myasthenia gravis)

COVID-19 treatment if you are at high risk

We offer antibody and antiviral treatments if you have COVID-19 and are at high risk of becoming seriously ill. These treatments can help some people to manage their COVID-19 symptoms and reduce the risk of getting seriously ill.

The NHS tells you which treatment is suitable for you.

Who can have COVID-19 treatment

You can only have COVID-19 treatment if you have not been admitted to hospital and all the conditions below apply.

If you are not eligible now, you might be in the future. The rules change quite often as more information about COVID-19 becomes available.

Reporting your positive test result for treatment

    When you do a test for COVID-19, you must report your result. The NHS can then contact you about treatment if your result is positive and you have COVID-19.

    If you have any COVID-19 symptoms, take a rapid lateral flow test as soon as possible. You need to do this even if your symptoms are mild. A rapid lateral flow test shows you the result on a device that comes with the test.

    You can find a list of COVID-19 symptoms on the NHS website.

    You can report your test result on the GOV.UK website or call 119 free of charge.

    If you have reported your positive test result, the NHS will usually call you within 24 hours of your result. The NHS gives you more information and asks questions to check if treatment is right for you.

    If the NHS does not contact you within 24 hours of your positive test but you are eligible for COVID-19 treatment, call your GP surgery, specialist or 111.

    What treatment you might have

    The treatments currently available for Covid-19 are:

    • nirmatrelvir (Paxlovid) and ritonavir (Norvir®)
    • sotrovimab (Xevudy)
    • remdesivir (Veklury®)
    • molnupiravir (Lagevrio)

    These treatments are for people who have not been admitted to hospital with COVID-19.

    COVID-19 vaccination

    If you have missed any doses of the COVID-19 vaccine, it is important to have them as soon as possible.

    COVID-19 is more serious in older people and those with a weakened immune system. Protection gained from the vaccine might be lower and decline more quickly in these people.

    For this reason, people who are aged 75 or over, who live in a care home or who have a weakened immune system are being offered the spring booster. This might be your 4th or 5th dose of vaccine.

    Spring booster

    You should have your spring booster about 6 months (and not before 3 months) since your last dose of vaccine.

    You are eligible for a spring booster dose if you:

    • are aged 75 or over
    • live in a care home for older people

    You are also eligible if you are aged 12 or over and have had or have:

    • a blood cancer, such as leukaemia or lymphoma
    • a weakened immune system due to a treatment, such as steroid medicine, biological therapy (medicine that helps the immune system to fight cancer), chemotherapy or radiotherapy
    • an organ or bone marrow transplant
    • a condition that means you have a very high risk of getting infections
    • a condition or treatment that your specialist says makes you need an extra dose

    If you missed your first booster, it is important to have the spring booster as soon as possible. You might need another booster in addition to your usual flu vaccine in the autumn.

    Find out more about our vaccination centres and how to book an appointment.

    COVID-19 testing

    The NHS no longer sends you a polymerase chain reaction (PCR) test kit to keep at home.

    If you are eligible for COVID-19 treatment, make sure that you have some rapid lateral flow tests at home. You can then test yourself quickly if you get COVID-19 symptoms.

    If you do not have tests at home or need more tests, you can: 

    Do not use a test that you have bought online or from a pharmacy or shop. You cannot report a result from a test that you have bought privately on the GOV.UK website. This means that the NHS cannot contact you about COVID-19 treatment.

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    Contact our Patient Advice and Liaison Service (PALS)

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