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.

Not 'returning to normal' is not always a result of COVID-19

While research has previously told us what participants felt comfortable with as restrictions were eased in Scotland, some participants told us that not taking part in social activities, such as meeting people outwith their household, was not necessarily because they were at highest risk of COVID-19.

Pre-existing disability/mobility issues mean that people cannot do more as restrictions are eased

Some people who are at highest risk have pre-existing medical conditions which may impact mobility. As a result, some participants were limiting social contacts not only because they are at highest risk from COVID-19 but also because of existing or deteriorating mobility or other disability issues. This means that they are not able to 'get back to normal' in the same way as others:

It's kind of tricky because I had been going out and now I feel less like going out because I can't drive anymore because of my MS. In a way, I had to stop doing these things, rather than choosing to. For me, that means not getting out of my house much but not because of the pandemic. (Participant 8)

Some are content with fewer social interactions

Some participants also discussed feeling more comfortable with fewer social interactions than they had before the pandemic because they are now more comfortable with socialising less than they did before. It appears that the threat of catching COVID-19 is not the only factor which has changed the way people choose to socialise and that the way of living through the pandemic more generally, has changed the way that they socialise:

I just don't really feel like big nights out and not just because of the virus. I'm kind of happy and comfortable being more antisocial than I was before. I don't feel like I'm missing out on anything really (Participant 4)



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