More people are getting a vaccine with every passing day (pictured: a centre in Durham) (Image: Getty Images)
It is the first sign of when shielding will actually end this year, rather than simply giving people a date from which it might extend.
Yesterday it emerged the government had identified 1.7m more people at greater risk from Covid - on top of around 2million people already on the list - who would be ordered to shield.
At the same time, the government announced shielding would be extended from February 21 until March 31.
The NHS is sending letters to patients in the coming weeks and allowing them to move up their vaccine priority group.
That means all those on the shielding list should have been offered a first dose of the vaccine, if they are medically able to have it, and many will have had a second dose, by the end of March.
However, many shielded people who are immunocompromised may not be able to have the vaccine.
NHS Digital and Oxford University researchers analysed data on those hospitalised or who died during the pandemic so far to calculate those in the population at risk.
The new risk assessment computer model added a further 1.7 million people in England to around two million already on the ‘clinically extremely vulnerable’ list.
The model - called QCovid - is thought to be the first of its kind in the world. The change adding more people to the list affects just England at this stage.
This new group are deemed vulnerable due to a combination of less serious conditions and risk factors which, taken together, make them vulnerable.
That means there is no comprehensive list of conditions for which people must now shield. Instead people will have to wait until they receive a letter from the NHS to find out if they are hit.
Shielding advice is not to go out to work and get others to do your shopping.
Shielders can still go outside for exercise or to attend health appointments but are advised to minimise contact with others and avoid busy areas.
They should not meet anyone outside their support bubble and try to stay two metres away from people even within their household.
They can still meet one other person at a safe distance outdoors in an open space like a park. Sondakika haberleri