Coronavirus (COVID-19): highest risk – interviews report – August 2021

Results from qualitative Scottish Government interviews conducted in August 2021 with people at highest clinical risk from COVID-19.

Key Findings:

1. Vaccinations have changed the way that some participants behave but some are still unsure about how to best manage risk

  • Some participants do feel more confident in managing risk after vaccination and have started to 'get back to normal'
  • Participants who are immunocompromised need more individualised, condition-specific information on vaccine efficacy in order to feel safe enough to manage their risk.
  • Many participants would like to receive this information from their GP or specialist as they are a trusted source of information.

2. 'Getting back to normal' is dependent on being able to control and manage the risk of getting COVID-19

  • Some participants acknowledged that having confidence to do things again was a slow and incremental process that would take time
  • Many of these participants suggested there was little support Scottish Government could offer and instead, it was their responsibility to gain confidence to do things again
  • The behaviour of others is still a barrier as participants are trying to manage their own risk – especially in bars and restaurants.
  • Being asked to go back to the office is causing concern for some as people are not able to make the choice about what is safe for them

3. Not 'returning to normal' is not always a result of being at higher risk from COVID-19

  • The risk of COVID-19 is not the only thing preventing people from meeting others outside their household. Some participants are not able to 'get back to normal' because of disability or mobility issues.
  • Rather than feeling forced to limit social contacts, some participants suggest that they are now more content with meeting less people.

4. Accessing health care is still difficult for many

  • Many participants are having issues in accessing regular health care, especially GP appointments and are worried that this will have long-term impacts on their health.
  • Some participants are concerned that COVID-19 safety protocols in health care settings would not keep them safe

5. There is a lack of consensus about future communication and support needs

  • Communications from Scottish Government and NHS remain two highly trusted sources of information
  • Some participants suggest communications to those on the highest risk list should be reduced and only include essential information whereas some suggest there is now limited need
  • Others suggest that the highest risk list should exist throughout the winter as a precaution in the case of new variants of COVID-19 and heightened case numbers.



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