An official Scottish Government list of those deemed to have the highest risk of falling seriously ill from Covid-19 will be ended next month. 

It comes as vaccinations and new treatments have significantly reduced the risk of hospitalisation or death caused by the virus for those on the Highest Risk List - previously known as the Shielding List. 

For some time, the clinical advice has been for those on the Highest Risk List to follow the same guidance as everyone else in Scotland.

On May 31, the Government will officially delete the data of immunocompromised Scots from the directory used to identify and contact patients regarding tailored Covid advice. 

Chief medical officer Sir Gregor Smith will write to those who had been included in the list to inform them of the change. 

At the start of the pandemic, about 120,000 people in Scotland were in the shielding category and advised to minimise all interactions with other people.

Support will still be available for those who are immunocompromised and their local NHS boards will still be able to contact them when necessary. 

Dr John Harden, deputy national clinical director, said: “At the beginning of the pandemic we introduced shielding to protect the most vulnerable from a virus we knew little about.

“Clearly, shielding did not come without impact, particularly for those who were socially isolated or feeling particularly anxious due to being labelled at highest risk.

“In March 2020, we used the information we had at that point to identify those with certain health conditions who we reasonably thought would be at higher risk of severe illness from Covid-19. Thankfully, we know a lot more about the virus now.”

He continued: “Combined with our successful vaccination programme and the availability of new treatments, means the clinical evidence clearly shows that the vast majority of people who have been on the Highest Risk List no longer need to consider themselves at any significantly higher risk.

“Support is still in place for the small number of immunosuppressed people who are unable to mount a full immune response due to their condition or ongoing treatment.

“We will publish separate advice for this group and have put in place an identification process to be able to rapidly generate an accurate and current list of individuals to provide additional advice to, should it be needed in future.”