Flu is serious. Every year in Scotland, thousands of people are hospitalised with this unpredictable virus. The annual flu vaccine is the safest and most effective way to help protect against the flu.
Those most at risk from flu are also most vulnerable to concurrent infection with coronavirus (COVID-19). Due to the impact of coronavirus on the most vulnerable in society, it’s vital we do all that we can to reduce the impact of seasonal flu on those most at risk. This ensures that the impact of potential co-circulation of flu and coronavirus is kept to an absolute minimum.
This year it’s especially important that those who are eligible receive their flu vaccine. More than ever, the flu vaccine is going to be a key intervention to reduce pressure on the NHS and protect the most vulnerable in our population.
As in previous years, the flu vaccination is offered to:
- children, including those who are aged 2 to 5, primary school age living with a health condition, and young carers
- adults, including those who are pregnant, aged 65 and over, living with a health condition, and unpaid carers
- healthcare workers
In addition those eligible to receive the flu vaccine has been extended this year (2020) to include:
- social care workers providing direct personal care
- household members of those previously advised to shield
- adults aged 55 to 64 who are not otherwise eligible.
When the flu vaccine is given
Those who are eligible for the flu vaccination should be given it as soon as possible. This will help protect individuals before the flu viruses begin to circulate.
Flu vaccines will be given in two phases:
- From late September for children, pregnant women, people with a health condition, health and social care workers, unpaid and young carers, adults aged 65 and over and household members of those previously advised to shield
- From the beginning of December (at the latest) for those aged 55 to 64 who were not eligible for vaccination within the first phase
Where the flu vaccine is given
This year flu vaccination clinics may be arranged differently depending on where people live. They may be invited to attend:
- healthcare settings such as GP practices, hospitals or community pharmacies
- community venues such as town halls, village halls, sports halls and secondary schools
- drive-through or walk-in clinics
People will be able to find out how they can get their vaccine in their local area by visiting the NHS inform How to get the flu vaccine in your area (external website) page.
The Scottish Government Chief Medical Officer flu programme letters (external website) provide information on key elements of the Scottish Influenza Immunisation Programme for both children and adults.
We have produced resources to support the 2020/21 flu immunisation vaccination programme.
The NHS inform flu vaccine pages (external website) provide flu immunisation information for the public.