Shielding – Self isolation for the extremely vulnerable

What is 'shielding'?

If you fall within one of the groups recommended to shield, you will have received or will be receiving a letter or text from the Scottish Government as the NHS has identified you as a person who would be most at-risk if the Coronavirus (COVID-19) was contracted.

Shielding is a recommended form of self-isolating for 12 weeks to minimise your contact with others to try to prevent you from contracting Coronavirus.

Groups recommended to undertake shielding include those who:

  • have had solid organ transplants
  • have cancer and are receiving active chemotherapy
  • have lung cancer and are either receiving or previously received radical radiotherapy
  • have cancers of the blood or bone marrow, such as leukaemia, lymphoma or myeloma who are at any stage of treatment
  • are receiving immunotherapy or other continuing antibody treatments for cancer
  • are receiving other targeted cancer treatments which can affect the immune system, such as protein kinase inhibitors or PARP inhibitor.
  •  have had bone marrow or stem cell transplants in the last six months, or who are still taking immunosuppression drugs
  •  have severe chest conditions such as cystic fibrosis or severe asthma and severe COPD
  •  have rare diseases that significantly increase the risk of infections such as SCID and homozygous sickle cell
  •  are receiving immunosuppression therapies that significantly increase risk of infection
  • are pregnant with significant heart disease (congenital or acquired)

If you think you have a condition which makes you extremely vulnerable you are strongly advised to shield yourself, to reduce the chance of getting coronavirus (COVID-19) and follow the face-to-face distancing measures below.

The measures are:

  • Strictly avoid contact with someone who is displaying symptoms of coronavirus (COVID-19). These symptoms include high temperature and/or new and continuous cough.
  • Do not leave your house.
  • Do not attend any gatherings. This includes gatherings of friends and families in private spaces for example family homes, weddings and religious services.
  • Do not go out for shopping, leisure or travel and, when arranging food or medication deliveries, these should be left at the door to minimise contact
  • Keep in touch using remote technology such as phone, internet, and social media.

We know that stopping these activities will be difficult. You should try to identify ways of staying in touch with others and participating in your normal activities remotely from your home. However, you must not participate in alternative activities if they involve any contact with other people.

Full guidance on shielding is available from NHS Inform and the UK Government

We understand that many of you will have a support network of people around you who can help with shopping or collection of prescriptions which can be left at the front door.  But there will be some of you who have no local support.

This is where East Lothian Council can help, particularly with food supplies, household essentials and medicine.

In your Government letter, there is a number you can text. Please do this even if you don't need the Government food parcel. The text service will be used to give you essential updates too. If you don't have a mobile phone, you can register for the food parcel by contacting East Lothian Council's Coronavirus helpline.

Contact Us

If you require support when you are shielding, please contact [email protected] or 01875 824300 (seven days a week).

We are also making calls to everyone on the shielding list that we have contact details for. We have noted that a number of calls are not being answered and this may be because outgoing calls from the council do not show a number on mobiles and on landlines with a caller display function. Of course, anyone answering a call from an unavailable number should always ensure the call is genuine. Council staff always say who they are and would never ask for personal details, especially financial information. Anyone shielding can also get in touch with us directly instead.

East Lothian Shielding support

Privacy notice - shielding