Coronavirus (COVID-19): advice for people who were on the Highest Risk List

Advice to help people who were on the Highest Risk List make informed decisions and access support services.

This document is part of a collection


Overview

The COVID-19 Highest Risk List ended on 31 May 2022

The success of the vaccination programme and the availability of new medicines to treat COVID-19 mean that the majority of people on the List are at no greater risk from COVID-19 than the general population. We have strong clinical evidence to support this which meant we could end the List.

We will still be able to contact the people we need to if there’s any need for any different advice in the future.

Advice for immunosuppressed people

People who are immunosuppressed might not develop the same level of immunity from the vaccination as others. This means that some people who are immunosuppressed will still be at higher risk from COVID-19, although many do get some protection from the vaccine.

Advice for immunosuppressed or immunocompromised people is available.

Staying safe at work

Visit our safer workplaces page for guidance on going or returning to work, and staying safe in the workplace.

Vaccinations

Vaccination is still the most important way to protect yourself and other people. You and your friends and family should get all the vaccinations we offer you as soon as you can. Talk to your GP or specialist clinician if you are not sure about vaccinations.

It is important that as many people as possible in these vulnerable groups are fully protected, particularly as protection wanes over time and as we plan for further doses during autumn and winter.

Find information about vaccinations on NHS inform. This includes information for people with underlying health conditions.

Winter 2022 Vaccination Programme

Following advice from the Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation (JCVI), NHS Scotland recommends you have both the flu and COVID-19 vaccines this winter if you are:

Where possible, the winter COVID-19 vaccine will be given at the same time as the flu vaccine to those who are eligible. Getting both vaccines together is a safe and efficient way to deliver maximum protection over the winter months.

All adults aged 65 years or over will be contacted soon with a scheduled appointment for their COVID-19 and flu vaccinations. If you are unable to attend your COVID-19 and flu vaccination appointment please cancel or reschedule. This will allow us to offer the appointment to someone else.

All those in a clinical risk group will be contacted with a scheduled appointment for their COVID-19 and flu vaccinations. Please wait until you are contacted or called forward.

You may bring a carer, a sighted guide/translator or a guide/hearing dog to your appointment, if required.

More information on support for those who are unable to leave their home due to mobility or mental health conditions, or who may need additional support at their appointment, will be provided.

It’s vital that you take up the offer of vaccination – it protects you and those you support against serious COVID-19 infection. COVID-19 immunity wanes over time, but a winter dose can restore your protection and reduce your risk of severe COVID-19 illness.

More information about the winter vaccination programme can be found at: Winter vaccines | NHS inform

Prioritising vaccinations and new treatments

We have not been using the Highest Risk List to prioritise people for vaccination for some time now or to identify people who meet the criteria for new treatments such as antivirals. Ending the Highest Risk List does not have an impact on identifying those who are eligible for additional vaccinations or new COVID-19 treatments.

Covid Sense Signage Pilot

We launched the Covid Sense Signage Pilot in June 2022. This voluntary signage will enable and encourage organisations and businesses to provide reassurance to people about the protective measures they have in place, particularly those with underlying health conditions and who are at a higher risk from COVID-19.

Support to get back to the things you used to do

Many people who were on the Highest Risk List have told us about the impact on their mental health and wellbeing. We have published advice if you are more worried, or isolated, or struggling to reconnect with people and things you were doing before the pandemic.

Distance Aware Scheme

If you want to, you can wear a badge or lanyard with a blue and yellow shield when you’re out in public places to show other people you would like some extra space and care taken around you, for any reason. Read more about the Distance Aware badge and lanyard scheme.

Support from your local council

If you need additional support, your local council may be able to provide advice on where to get this. This might include local third sector organisations or projects. For further information, you can contact your local council.

Letters to people who were on the Highest Risk List

We publish letters that have gone out to people who were on the Highest Risk List. Translations or alternative formats of the letters are uploaded on request.

Future communication

Public Health Scotland will take on the role of identifying people at highest risk with the help of NHS. Public Health Scotland can also inform people of new treatments or vaccinations.

If needed, we could again write to people at highest risk and reopen the text messaging service used before.

Background on decision to end Highest Risk List

If you were on the Highest Risk List, the Chief Medical Officer will have written to you with further details about the end of the list.

For more information:

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