The purpose of this guideline is to maximise the safety of children and young people who are immunocompromised during the COVID-19 pandemic. It also aims to protect staff from infection and enable services to make the best use of NHS resources.
On 14 August 2020, we updated the recommendation on safeguarding to remove a link to government guidance that has been withdrawn.
The guideline covers children and young people (aged 17 and under). It may also be relevant for newborn babies under 72 hours, and 18 to 24 year olds using healthcare services.
Children and young people who are immunocompromised include those with:
- primary immunodeficiencies
- secondary or acquired immunodeficiencies because of their condition
- secondary or acquired immunodeficiencies because of immunosuppressive treatment
- chronic disease associated with immune dysfunction (such as organ dysfunction or failure or severe inflammatory disease).
This guideline focuses on what you need to stop or start doing during the pandemic. Follow the usual professional guidelines, standards and laws (including those on equalities, safeguarding, communication and mental capacity), as described in making decisions using NICE guidelines.
This guideline is for:
- health and care practitioners
- health and care staff involved in planning and delivering services
The recommendations bring together
- existing national and international guidance and policies
- advice from specialists working in the NHS from across the UK. These include people with expertise and experience of treating children and young people who are immunocompromised during the current COVID-19 pandemic.
NICE has also produced COVID-19 rapid guidelines for children, young people and adults on:
- severe asthma
- rheumatological autoimmune, inflammatory and metabolic bone disorders
- dermatological conditions treated with drugs affecting the immune response
- gastrointestinal and liver conditions treated with drugs affecting the immune response
- arranging planned care in hospitals and diagnostic services.
We developed this guideline using the interim process and methods for developing rapid guidelines on COVID-19 in response to the rapidly evolving situation. We will review and update the recommendations as the knowledge base develops using the interim process and methods for guidelines developed in response to health and social care emergencies.
The recommendations in this guideline represent the view of NICE, arrived at after careful consideration of the evidence available. When exercising their judgement, professionals and practitioners are expected to take this guideline fully into account, alongside the individual needs, preferences and values of their patients or the people using their service. It is not mandatory to apply the recommendations, and the guideline does not override the responsibility to make decisions appropriate to the circumstances of the individual, in consultation with them and their families and carers or guardian.
All problems (adverse events) related to a medicine or medical device used for treatment or in a procedure should be reported to the Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency using the Yellow Card Scheme.
Local commissioners and providers of healthcare have a responsibility to enable the guideline to be applied when individual professionals and people using services wish to use it. They should do so in the context of local and national priorities for funding and developing services, and in light of their duties to have due regard to the need to eliminate unlawful discrimination, to advance equality of opportunity and to reduce health inequalities. Nothing in this guideline should be interpreted in a way that would be inconsistent with complying with those duties.
Commissioners and providers have a responsibility to promote an environmentally sustainable health and care system and should assess and reduce the environmental impact of implementing NICE recommendations wherever possible.