Coronavirus (COVID-19): Highest risk (previously called shielding)

The highest risk group includes people who have been asked to shield in the past. Most adults in Scotland will soon have had both doses of the coronavirus (COVID-19) vaccine. This means people at highest risk are now much less likely to catch coronavirus.

You do not have to shield now.

The ‘shielding list’ and the ‘highest risk list’ are the same. We're now using the words ‘highest risk’ rather than ‘shielding’ because it's highly unlikely you'll be asked to shield again.

People on the ‘highest risk list’ should strictly follow protective measures and hygiene measures.

You should continue to follow any specific advice given by your clinician.

Text message (SMS) service

The Scottish Government continue to send updates through a free text message service for people on the ‘highest risk list’.

Coronavirus vaccine

The coronavirus vaccine does not cause a coronavirus infection. It helps to build up your immunity to the virus, so your body will fight it off more easily if it affects you. This can reduce your risk of developing coronavirus and make your symptoms milder if you do get it.

NHS Scotland strongly recommends you get the vaccine when offered it.

After you’ve had your vaccine, it’s important that you continue to follow the latest government advice.

Read further information about the coronavirus vaccine

Helpline for vulnerable people

A helpline (0800 111 4000) has been set up for those at increased risk who don’t have a support network, such as family or existing community support. 

Callers will be connected to their local authority who will help them access the services they need, such as:

  • essential food and medication
  • links to local social work services for vulnerable children or adults
  • emotional support
  • contact with local volunteer groups

The helpline is open from 9.00am to 5.00pm, Monday to Friday.

Vitamin D

Everyone should consider taking a daily supplement of vitamin D. Taking a daily vitamin D supplement helps with bone and muscle health.

Read more about vitamin D on the Scottish Government’s ‘highest risk list’ page.

Health and social care support

If you receive support from health and social care organisations, such as care support through your local council, this will continue as normal.

Your health or social care provider will be asked to take additional precautions to make sure that you’re protected.

Looking after your wellbeing

Social isolation, reduction in physical activity, unpredictability and changes in routine can all contribute to increasing stress. Many people including those without existing mental health needs may feel anxious.

If you’re receiving services for your mental health, learning disability or autism and you’re worried about the impact of isolation, contact your keyworker, care coordinator or provider to review your care plan.

If you have additional needs please contact your key worker or care coordinator to develop a safety or crisis plan.

It’s important to stay mentally and physically active during this time.

Read further advice on your mental wellbeing

Further information