Government letter, saying I am extremely vulnerable...but I think it’s wrong!!


Yesterday I received a text from the government Coronavirus service (it’s second wave of notifications) telling me my condition puts me at high risk of being seriously from Coronavirus. Put into the category of extremely vulnerable person that needs to be shielded and telling not to leave the house for 12 weeks

but I don’t think that I fall into this category. 

I was diagnosed with breast cancer in June 2016, no nodes involved, didn’t have chemo just lumpectomy, radiotherapy and prescribed Tamoxifen for 10 years. Touch wood…I have been ok since and no other health conditions and take no other medication 

my gp surgery couldn’t tell me why I had the letter and said it must be the Tamoxifen

nhs 111 confirmed the same

cant get hold of the breast care nurses (not even answer machine to leave message) so I presume they have been redeployed to areas of greater need in the hospital 

Anybody else find themselves in this position…only taking tamoxifen but receiving the government’s letter to stay at home ???

Hi Swifty6,

I received the same letter the other day and I must say it scared me quite a bit.  I was treated for primary BC in 2018, no nodes involved, but i needed chemo, radiotherapy and was on Herceptin for a year, which ended in July 2019.  I was put on Tamoxifen for 10 years.

I found reassuring info here on the Breast Cancer Now website.  If you go to “About Us”, then “Media” and then “Statements” there is an article “Our response to coronavirus”.  I think this confirms that we should NOT be considered especially vulnerable to this dreadful virus.  They specifically mention Tamoxifen.  I would paste the link here, but I don’t know how to!

Hope this is of help.

Take good care and sending big hugs.


Hi Swifty6

It does seem odd, given your circumstances. I was perplexed when I got my text/letter in the first round - it doesn’t make a jot of difference btw; I’m still waiting for my supermarket to make the connection and give me a priority slot! I reckon it may be because I was admitted to hospital with neutropoenic sepsis last March. Immunity would be flagged up on the system even though, apart from awful joint pain, I’m fit as a fiddle. My GP has confirmed that I should be on the list, partly to shield me in case I developed a lung infection (I’ve had one chest infection in my life - during chemo!), mainly to keep NHS beds clear for those who catch it and unpredictably get to the worst stage. 

Can you ask for a GP phone consultation and get a GP to confirm the reason? You can arm yourself with the information from this site. If they do, then you just have to live with it. If they agree with you that it’s unnecessary, surely that releases you from the social obligation to remain at home. It’s not that bad in isolation. I’ve just completed week 3 and I haven’t tidied or cleaned anything yet! It is inconvenient more than anything but, from my perspective, it’s for a good cause. 

Best of luck either way xx

Hello, I got the “extremely vulnerable” text and letter as well, and like you thought it was wrong. Quite scary and upsetting really. I did an on line query with my GP and he rang back to say he agreed I do not need to be on the list. I had chemo but finished over 7 months ago, and I take Tamoxifen and Zometa (6 monthly preventative) neither of which affect the immune system. Apparently the list was drawn up by national NHS and our surgery has had loads of calls about it, some like us who do not want to be listed and others who are not and think they should be. My GP was going to send a link to try and get me off the list but anyway he is happy for me to just be careful and follow the standard rules. Best wishes to you xx


I am 64 and 4 years post surgery. I was surprised to get the letter yesterday. I’m slightly more anxious now so will follow the guidance where appropriate to myself. My husband has to care for his 98 yr old mum during the week so, if nothing else, I hope to get an online slot for groceries. I currently rely on my daughter to shop for me but would be hopeless without her. So I say: embrace the letter as positive help. We have all been through so much it feels good to be cared about! I have registered online but told them I have help to get shopping. Reading the comments, I’m wondering if I should change that??