Publication - Research and analysis

Coronavirus (COVID-19): shielding survey report - January 2021

Published: 22 Feb 2021

Publication of results from a survey conducted between December 2020 and January 2021 which explored areas such as: the impact of services and support provided by the Scottish Government's Shielding Division, thoughts on vaccination, and how pausing shielding in Scotland has impacted different aspects of life.

45 page PDF

2.7 MB

45 page PDF

2.7 MB

Contents
Coronavirus (COVID-19): shielding survey report - January 2021
Following Guidance

45 page PDF

2.7 MB

Following Guidance

With the introduction of the strategic framework in Scotland in October 2020, people who had received a shielding letter were asked to follow the same advice as the general public but with some additional advice (see matrix image).

We wanted to understand participants’ awareness of and adherence to this additional guidance.

Extra protection level advice for people at highest risk from coronavirus

Matrix displaying advice for different scenarios for people at high risk. The advice changes depending on what level the person's local area is in.

96% of respondents were aware of this additional guidance. 85% of them heard about it in a letter from the Chief Medical Officer and 74% in a text from the Shielding text message alert service. The third highest option was hearing about it on the daily briefings, but only 35% heard about the guidance this way, suggesting that direct communications were the most effective form of communication.

In terms of quality and compliance: 88% of respondents thought the additional guidance was quite or very clear and the majority of respondents (66%) were following the guidance completely.

Awareness of additional guidance

Yes 96%
No 4%
Response count 4146

Where respondents had heard about the additional guidance

Chart showing where respondents had heard about the additional guidance for people at highest risk from coronavirus.
In a letter from the Chief Medical Officer 85%
In a text from the Shielding text message alert service 74%
I heard about it on the daily briefings 35%
I read about it online 31%
I heard about it on the news 23%
I read about it in a letter/leaflet 11%
I was contacted by a healthcare professional 4%
I heard about it through a friend or family member 3%
I heard about it from a charity or support organisation 2%
Response count 3979

Clarity of additional guidance

Very clear 51%
Quite clear 37%
Neither clear or unclear 7%
Quite unclear 4%
Very unclear 1%
Response count 3990

Whether people are following the additional guidance

Chart showing whether respondents are following the additional guidance provided to people at highest risk from coronavirus.
Completely 66%
Partially – I am unable to follow the guidance completely 23%
Partially – I choose not to follow the guidance completely 5%
Not at all 2%
I don’t know 4%
Response count 1010

Note that there was an error in the display of this question for the first 3000 responses. This explains why the number of people who answered this question is significantly lower than other questions, and could also explain the relatively high number of “I don’t know” responses.

What aspects of additional guidance are being followed

Chart showing what aspects of the additional guidance provided to people at highest risk from coronavirus are being followed.
Minimising contact with people outside your own household 90%
Keeping two metres away from others 86%
Not taking public transport 83%
Wearing a face covering when out 82%
Limiting the number of times you go to a shop 77%
Shopping at quieter times 61%
Speaking to your employer about protections at work 24%
Carrying out a workplace risk assessment 22%
Not attending school, college or formal childcare 7%
Not relevant to my local area 1%
Response count 942

Percentages do not add up to 100 as respondents could select multiple options

Deciding which activities are safe

Since shielding was paused, communications and guidance from Scottish Government has aimed to provide users with information on personal risk, allowing people on the shielding list to assess risk of different activities for themselves. Letters and texts have included links to information such as localised infection rates via the Public Health Scotland dashboard, and a booklet titled ‘Balancing the risks of daily activities during coronavirus’ was produced, explaining the additional protection measures that those at high risk could take.

62% said that they felt confident about making decisions about which day-to-day activities (such as going outside for exercise, visiting shops and meeting others) are safe. It is unclear why the remaining 38% don’t feel confident. Over the course of the survey being live, there was a sharp rise in infection rates in Scotland, and guidance for those at higher risk changed significantly. This may have had an impact on people’s confidence.

Respondents told us their top three trusted sources of information for deciding which activities are safe were: Scottish Government (83%), Public Health Scotland (56%) and specialist healthcare professionals (34%).

Do respondents feel confident when deciding which activities are safe?

Yes 62%
No 38%
Response count 4139

Trusted sources of information for deciding which activities are safe

Chart showing which sources of information where most trusted by respondents for deciding which activities are safe.
Scottish Government 83%
Public Health Scotland 56%
Specialist healthcare professional 34%
My GP 33%
My Local Authority 21%
Friends and family 11%
Response count 4092

Percentages do not add up to 100 as respondents could select multiple options


Contact

Email: shielding.research@gov.scot