Publication - Advice and guidance

Coronavirus (COVID-19): shielding advice and support

Details of shielding advice to help people make informed decisions and access support services during the coronavirus pandemic.

Coronavirus (COVID-19): shielding advice and support

Overview of 'shielding' 

Scotland has 5 protection levels. Find your area’s protection level and guidelinesIf you are on the shielding list, you should follow the general advice for your local protection level.

If you are on the shielding list, our advice is that you should not go to work if you live or work in a Level 4 area, unless you can work from home. This applies even if you have had a coronavirus vaccine.  We will let you know if this advice changes as we learn more about the impact of the vaccination.

There’s also extra advice for those at higher risk from coronavirus, which you can choose to follow as well.

You can also find more information for people at higher risk from coronavirus at This includes information about work, school, and financial support you may be able to get if you cannot work at Level 4.

For information about the coronavirus vaccine, visit NHS inform.

If you need help getting to your vaccination appointment

If you don't have your own transport or support with transport and need help getting to your vaccination appointment, please phone the Scottish COVID-19 Vaccination Helpline on 0800 030 8013 (open daily, 8am-8pm). Our general advice for people on the shielding list is to avoid public transport including taxis while the area where you live is at Level 4, unless this is arranged for you in order to get to your vaccination. The Vaccination Helpline will give you a local number to call to arrange this.

If you are unable to leave your home for your vaccination appointment or wish to make alternative arrangements

If you are unable to leave your home for your vaccination appointment or wish to make alternative arrangements, there are other ways to get your coronavirus vaccination. For advice on this, please phone the Scottish COVID-19 Vaccination Helpline on 0800 030 8013 (open daily, 8am-8pm).

We know that you might still be anxious, so we:

  • are using our text messaging service to send you updates and alert you when there is increased risk in your area – to sign up send your CHI number (at the top of your shielding letter) to 07860 064525
  • encourage you to download the new Protect Scotland app to help us stop coronavirus from spreading again

For more information on case numbers in your area, visit Public Health Scotland’s dashboard. This is updated daily with the latest figures from across Scotland.

Who this advice applies to

This advice applies to most people on the shielding list.

This includes people who are at the highest risk of severe illness from coronavirus. People on the list will receive a letter telling them so. This includes some children and young people.

It does not apply to anyone living in a residential care or nursing home. Care homes are following the separate guidance for care home settings.

Some of this advice may not be suitable for you. Contact your specialist care team to discuss if this advice is right for you. It will depend on your individual situation.

Your clinician might suggest you avoid doing certain things. This will be because of your specific health condition or treatments. You should continue to follow any specific advice they give you.

Examples include people who:

  • are waiting on a solid organ transplant
  • are having treatment for cancer or have recently completed treatment

Making informed choices

Different things matter to different people. We want to help you to make informed choices based on your own specific situation. This will help you take back more control over your life while minimising risk.

Our online support includes:

If the infection rate goes up

The infection rate in Scotland may rise as well as fall in the coming months. Small changes will not affect this advice.

We will keep our advice under constant review. We may ask you to take extra steps to stay safe if there is an increase in infection rates that gives us concern. We will let you know by letter and through the text messaging service if this is the case.


Call 0800 111 4000 to speak to someone from your local authority. This is the national COVID-19 helpline and it is free. It is open Monday to Friday, 9am – 5pm.

First published: 23 Feb 2021 Last updated: 22 Apr 2021 -