People at higher risk of serious illness due to COVID-19

Some people are considered to be at higher risk of becoming seriously ill if they develop COVID-19. This includes many people affected by lymphoma.

View the full government guidelines for higher risk people in England, Northern Ireland, Scotland and Wales.

Am I at higher risk of becoming seriously ill if I get COVID-19?

You might be at higher risk of becoming seriously ill from COVID-19 if you have a particular medical condition that increases your risk, or because of other factors such as your age, ethnicity, sex or weight. People who have cancer of the blood or bone marrow, such as lymphoma, leukaemia or myeloma, who are at any stage of treatment, are considered to be at higher risk of serious illness from COVID-19. This includes people before, during and after treatment.

For people with lymphoma, this includes the following:

Before treatment

People who are on active monitoring (watch and wait) for low-grade lymphoma (including chronic lymphocytic leukaemia).

During treatment

People who are currently having treatment for any type of lymphoma.

(Patients on treatment should follow the standard neutropenic sepsis pathways and telephone for clinical advice as stated by their chemotherapy unit prior to commencing treatment.)

After treatment

There is limited scientific evidence to guide decisions on exactly who is at high risk of severe disease from COVID-19. Public Health England recommends that anybody who has had treatment for lymphoma is considered higher risk but does not give a time frame for how long ago the treatment was.

A consensus of UK lymphoma specialists agree that it is sensible for people who have low-grade non-Hodgkin lymphoma to take precautions to lower their risk even if they have not required treatment for many years.

If you were successfully treated for Hodgkin lymphoma or high-grade non-Hodgkin lymphoma many years ago and your lymphoma has not come back, the situation is more complicated. Your GP or specialist will consider lots of factors to help determine if you might be at higher risk of serious illness due to COVID-19. This includes:

  • the specific type of lymphoma you had
  • how long ago you were treated
  • the exact treatment you had
  • any late effects of treatment you might be at risk of
  • any other medical conditions you have
  • your individual circumstances (for example, your living situation or your occupation).

Your GP or specialist will offer advice that is specific to you.

If you have had a splenectomy, you are considered at higher risk of serious illness.

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