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Improving health
Previously NHS Health Scotland

Children

This autumn the flu vaccine is offered to children and young people who are:

  • aged 2 to 5 (children must be aged 2 on 1st September 2020)
  • primary school age
  • living with a health condition aged 6 months and over
  • young carers

Those in secondary school aren't currently included in the programme, unless they have a health condition.

It is especially important eligible children receive the flu vaccine this year. This is because:

  • flu can be serious, even for healthy children
  • it reduces the risk of children spreading flu to friends and family
  • it helps prevent the strain that a spike in seasonal flu would place on our NHS on top of coronavirus (COVID-19)

The annual flu vaccine is the safest and most effective way to help protect children against this unpredictable virus.

The flu vaccine is normally given as a painless nasal (nose) spray. However some children may need to get the injectable vaccine instead.

Eligible groups

Children aged 2 to 5

All children aged 2 to 5 years on 1 September 2020 (and not yet in primary school) are offered the flu vaccine every year.

All parents and carers of children aged 2 to 5 years will receive a centrally-issued letter and leaflet inviting them to arrange their child’s vaccination.

Primary school aged children

The flu vaccine is offered to all primary school aged children in Scotland.

The flu vaccine is normally given to children at school by the local NHS team in the autumn and winter.

From early August 2020, consent packs are sent to local schools to be sent home in school bags. These packs include a letter and leaflet for parents of primary school children as well as a consent form.

We have produced a pack for health professionals and school staff supporting the flu programme. It contains a number of resources including:

  • sample invitation letter
  • posters
  • leaflet
  • consent form guidance
  • radio advert for parents
  • 'You and Flu' video introducing the vaccine in an engaging way

You can view these resources on our Flu education pack download page.

Children living with a health condition

Children with certain health conditions will be offered the flu vaccine from 6 months of age. A list of conditions and diseases which can make flu more dangerous can be found on NHS inform's child flu vaccine pages (external website).

Primary school children with an underlying health condition will be normally offered the vaccine in school and will no longer need to get it from their GP.

Young carers

Young carers are eligible to receive the flu vaccine.

A young carer is a child or young person who is under the age of 18 who carries out significant caring tasks and assumes a level of responsibility for another person which would normally be taken by an adult.

Young carers can find out how to receive the vaccination by visiting the NHS inform's child flu vaccine pages (external website).

Further information

The Scottish Government Chief Medical Officer child flu immunisation programme letter (external website) provides information on key elements of the Scottish Childhood Seasonal Flu Immunisation Programme 2020/21.

There is more information for the public on the NHS inform child flu vaccination pages (external website).