Following the move to beyond Level 0, Scottish Government has released the Chief Medical Officer’s (CMO) letter to everyone on the highest risk list from COVID-19 (previously the shielding list).
They recognise that many people on this list will be worried about the move beyond level 0, and the likely impact of feeling isolated for long periods of time on people’s mental health. As a result, the letter includes a leaflet written with people at highest risk in mind, with advice on coping with anxiety, stress and feeling down.
The letter also provides further information on vaccines, including on their effectiveness in the highest risk group in Scotland, and information about the new report from Public Health Scotland and Edinburgh University (linked for your convenience).
There is also information on the COVID-19 booster programme; Scottish Government is continuing to work through the details of this, and will provide further information in due course.
Supermarkets and Priority Slots
Additionally, the letter includes information about the priority supermarket delivery slots being paused at the end of September. This system is being paused as people at highest risk are being advised to follow general population advice. However, if anyone does want to continue to shop online, there is now significantly more capacity and availability from supermarkets to do this for everyone.
By pausing rather than stopping, supermarkets can keep their customer information for now so that the system can restart quickly if needed. This also means individual supermarkets can continue to offer priority if they choose; some have indicated they might do this and will contact their customers directly.
Returning to Work
Scottish Government continues to encourage employers not to require people to come into the office if not necessary, as this will help to reduce transmission of the virus.
However, there has also been clarification in response to feedback about the advice on returning to work:
“Returning to the workplace
And thirdly, we are continuing to encourage employers to support working from home, or flexible working, where possible and appropriate. Most businesses are not planning wholesale return to the workplace and are taking a gradual approach. My advice is that you can go into the workplace along with others if you want to, or if your employer requires this. Employers should not discourage you from returning to the workplace, or from working from home if that is not your choice or in your best interests.”
The reference in the final sentence, that employees have a choice about returning to the workplace, is in the context of phased returns to offices or workplaces where employers are giving their employees a choice in the matter. However, once a workplace is open if an employer does require an employee to return, then the employee does have to return. The remaining requirements for workplace safety and risk assessments apply.
Vaccines for Young People with Certain Health Conditions
The “Support for those at highest risk from COVID-19” department has also issued information about the vaccinations for children and young people with certain conditions (which are not exactly the same as those who are on the highest risk list) and who live with adults who are immunosuppressed. Those eligible will be contacted directly by the NHS with invites.
For further information on these vaccinations, please visit the dedicated page.
Additionally, young people aged 16 – 17 years old living in mainland Scotland can now register for their COVID-19 vaccination online – please view the full web article for further information.
Accessing the Letter
To view or download the letter and associated leaflet as a pdf, please click either link below:
The following advice and support pages (linked for your convenience) have been updated to reflect these changes:
- Scottish Government: Coronavirus (COVID-19): advice for people at highest risk
- scot: COVID-19 – support if you’re on the highest risk list (previously ‘the shielding list’)
For further information on COVID-19 protection levels and restrictions in Scotland, please visit the Scottish Government’s main COVID-19 page.