Many people have been indoors more than usual this year and so might not have been making enough vitamin D from sunlight.
Particularly during the autumn and winter months everyone is advised to take a supplement of vitamin D every day to support general health and in particular for bone and muscle health.
Vitamin D supplements are available to purchase in pharmacies, health food shops and supermarkets. It is expected that patients will purchase such supplements. Community pharmacists or other healthcare professionals are able to advise on suitable vitamin D products.
This advice is particularly important for people who have been shielding this year due to COVID-19 because they are most likely to have been indoors over the spring and summer and so may not have been able to obtain enough vitamin D from sunlight.
A free 4-month supply of daily supplements of vitamin D is available for all adults who are clinically extremely vulnerable to support general health and in particular for bone and muscle health.
To opt-in to receive a free supply of vitamin D if you qualify, you will need register details between 30 November 2020 and 4 January 2021 at the following link: https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/coronavirus-covid-19/people-at-higher-risk/get-vitamin-d-supplements/.
You can use this service if all of these apply:
- You have received a letter from the NHS or the Department of Health and Social Care (DHSC) saying you're at high risk from coronavirus
- You're aged 18 or over
- You live in England
When you apply, a check will be made to ensure you are on the shielded patients list of people at high risk from coronavirus. If you have received a letter about this already, you're on the list.
Do not opt-in to receive the vitamin D supplements if:
- You are already taking a vitamin D supplement or are prescribed Calcium and vitamin D by your GP or healthcare professional
- You are currently living in a nursing or residential care home as supplies will be provided directly to the home where you live.
Distribution of the vitamin D supplements will start from January 2021.
Further guidance on how to safely take vitamin D supplements will be provided during the opt in process.
You can find general advice on vitamin D here: www.nhs.uk/vitamin-d.