The following groups are eligible for the flu vaccine in the first phase beginning in October this year:
- anyone aged 65 and over (by 31 March 2021)
- anyone with an eligible health condition
- pregnant women
- healthcare workers
- unpaid carers
- those living in the same home as people previously shielding from coronavirus
- social care workers who provide direct personal care.
The second phase is planned to begin in December, and will include those aged 55 to 64 (by 31 March 2021) who would not usually be eligible.
The Royal College of Midwives along with Scotland’s Chief Medical and Chief Nursing Officers recommend that all pregnant women should have the flu vaccine. This includes women who:
- are at any stage of pregnancy
- have been pregnant before
- have previously had the vaccine
Most NHS Boards and Health and Social Care Partnerships (HSCPs) will be delivering the flu vaccine to pregnant women through their local maternity services this year.
Adults with a health condition
People with certain health conditions are at greater risk from flu. A list of conditions and diseases which can make flu more dangerous can be found on NHS inform's flu vaccine pages (external website).
The flu vaccination is also recommended for people in long-stay residential care homes or other long-stay care facilities.
Those who have been previously advised to shield have already been identified as being at a high risk from coronavirus. There is a further heightened risk to health if they contract coronavirus and seasonal flu at the same time.
People with an eligible health condition will receive a letter through the post from mid-September onwards. To find out how to get the flu vaccination in their local area, they will be asked to either visit the NHS inform website or call the NHS inform helpline.
People living with those previously advised to shield
This year’s flu immunisation programme includes people who live in the same household as those previously advised to shield due to coronavirus. By receiving the vaccination, they should provide additional indirect protection to individuals who are shielding.
This group of people will be informed that they can get the vaccine through national letters sent to individuals with eligible health conditions or those aged 65 and over.
Adults aged 55 to 64
Adults who are aged 55 to 64 by 31 March 2021 are eligible to receive the flu vaccine this year. This will help to protect an age group who are more vulnerable to both Coronavirus and seasonal flu than those in younger age groups. It will also lower the risk for people in this group getting infected with both viruses at the same time.
Those aged 55 to 64 years who are not otherwise eligible will start to receive the vaccine in the second phase of the programme later in the season. This ensures that those at highest risk from seasonal flu receive the vaccine first.
Adults aged 65 and over
Adults aged 65 and over by 31 March 2021 are eligible to receive the flu vaccine. They will receive a letter through the post from late September onwards. To find out how to get the flu vaccination in their local area, they will be asked to either visit the NHS inform website or call the NHS inform helpline.
Unpaid carers are eligible to receive the free flu vaccine.
Unpaid carers provide essential help and support without pay. They may care for a partner, child, relative, friend or neighbour. Support may be needed due to age, physical or mental illness, addiction or disability.
The Scottish Government Chief Medical Officer letter (external website) provides information on key elements of the Scottish Adult Seasonal Flu Immunisation Programme 2020/21.
There is more information for the public on the NHS inform flu vaccine pages (external website).