Covid-19 Shielding

What is Shielding

Shielding is a measure to protect extremely vulnerable people from coming into contact with coronavirus, by minimising all interaction between them and others.

It is for those who are at very high risk of severe illness from coronavirus (COVID-19).  Their household and other contacts should strictly follow social distancing measures in order to protect them. 

Who does Shielding Apply to?

This group includes people 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 inhibitors
  • Have had bone marrow or stem cell transplants in the last 6 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)

This may be an anxious time for people considered extremely vulnerable and you will have questions and concerns.  A wide range of  assistance and support is in place to help you.

If I am shielding, what do I need to do?

Shielding is a measure to protect extremely vulnerable people from coming into contact with coronavirus, by minimising all interaction between them and others.

Those who are extremely vulnerable should:

  • Not leave their homes
  • Minimise all non-essential contact with other members of their household

This is to protect those who are at very high risk of severe illness from coronavirus (COVID-19) from coming into contact with the virus.

You should also follow these face-to-face distancing measures:

  • Strictly avoid contact with someone who is displaying symptoms of coronavirus (COVID19) - these symptoms include high temperature and/or new and continuous cough
  • Don’t leave your house
  • Don’t attend any gatherings - this includes gatherings of friends and families in private spaces for example family homes, weddings and religious services
  • Don’t 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
  • Use telephone or online services to contact your GP or other essential services - if you require an ambulance, call 999 and tell the call handler you’re following shielding measures because of an underlying health condition

You should try to identify ways of staying in touch with others and participating in your normal activities from your home. However, you must not participate in alternative activities if they involve any contact with other people.

This advice will be in place for at least the next 12 weeks.

Shielding support in East Dunbartonshire

For any enquiries relating to shielding or to request shielding support in East Dunbartonshire, you can contact us through the national Freephone helpline:

Helpline:        0800 111 4000  (Monday to Friday 9am – 5pm)

Please only contact the Shielding Helpline or Shielding email address if you have been advised that Shielding applies to you.

Your call will be routed to our local support team who will link in with Council services and relevant agencies that can help you to get food and medicines and any other support and assistance you need if you do not have any family or friends that can help with this.

Please note:  If you have family or friends who can support you while you are Shielding, please use this network so that we can target resources to those most in need in our community.  Thank you.

Shielding Information on NHS Inform

There is detailed information on Shielding and the support available to those in this group on the NHS Inform website:

Support from East Dunbartonshire Voluntary Action (EDVA)

East Dunbartonshire Voluntary Action (EDVA) are providing a range of support for those in the local area who are shielding, or who are vulnerable but do not fall in to the specific Shielding category.

The Council is working closely with EDVA, and EDVA are working in partnership with the providers of the Older People’s Advice Line (OPAL).  You can request support by contacting the OPAL Advice Line or by email as follows:

OPAL  Advice Line:           0141 438 2347

The Advice Line is open 7 days a week from 9am - 5pm.
It is available to all those requiring support during the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, including vulnerable people in need of assistance with food supply, prescription collections and also social isolation through the befriending service.

East Dunbartonshire Food Bank

East Dunbartonshire Food Bank continues to operate at this time and is available to those who are in poverty with no means to buy food.

Access to the Food Bank is by referral from the Council or from another Agency and you should contact either the Shielding National Helpline where you will be directed to one of our local team, or the OPAL Helpline

Shielding National Helpline:             0800 111 4000  (Monday to Friday 9am – 5pm)
OPAL Advice Line:                             0141 438 2347  (Monday to Sunday 9am – 5pm)

The Food Bank has centres in Kirkintilloch, Bishopbriggs and Milngavie, but distribution can be arranged throughout East Dunbartonshire where required.

Support from Supermarkets

If you are shielding and in contact with us through the helpline, you can request that your details are passed to the supermarkets, so that you can be given access to priority supermarket delivery slots. If you request this, a supermarket will then contact you directly.  The supermarkets currently offering this service in Scotland are Tesco, Sainsbury’s, Asda and Morrisons. If you are already registered for deliveries with one (or more) of these supermarkets, that supermarket(s) will contact you. If they are not already registered with a supermarket, any of these supermarkets may then contact you. You will need to pay for any groceries you order from a supermarket yourself. 

National SMS Text Service

A new national SMS (text) service has been launched.  To register, you need to text your CHI number to the service as per the instructions on the letter you will have received.  The service is only available for people in the shielding group. If you try to register with the SMS service but your CHI number does not match the eligible cohort (or if you text the SMS service but do not provide your CHI number), you will receive a message explaining this, inviting you to try again and a suggestion to call the local or national helpline if you need to speak to someone.

Any difficulties with registering by text then contact the national helpline number and our local operators will assist with this.

Once you register, you will be asked:

  • Whether you need a weekly delivery of basic groceries. A pack of groceries is designed to last one person for a week. You can order one pack or two if your household is larger. The groceries are delivered by the wholesalers Brakes and Bidfood.
  • Whether you would like their details to be passed to the supermarkets so that you can access priority supermarket delivery slots. The supermarkets will then contact you directly to offer you priority slots.

Please note:  The SMS service is automated.  If you have urgent support needs, or more bespoke needs that you need to discuss with someone, you should contact the national helpline in 0800 111 4000 to be put through to our local team.

The SMS number can only receive text messages.   You will hear a “number not recognised” message if you try to phone.