Winter Vaccination Programme
Winter Vaccination Programme 2021/22
The winter vaccination programme has started. If you are eligible for a free flu vaccine, you will get a letter from NHS Scotland. This will either give you an appointment date and time at one of the flu vaccination clinics in Lothian, or instruct you to make an appointment using an online portal.
The larger sites will be arranging appointments from early October. Local venues will be made available in October/November.
From now on, GP practices will not administer the Flu jab. Across Scotland, Health and Social Care Partnerships are taking on this role in line with the GP Contract agreed by BMA Scotland on behalf of Scottish GPs. This change has been agreed to relieve pressure on GP practices. As a result your local practice will not offer any flu vaccinations or handle any booking queries for people in eligible groups.
Instead, the flu vaccine will be delivered by the four Health and Social Care Partnerships in Lothian - East Lothian; Midlothian; Edinburgh and West Lothian.
If you are eligible for a COVID booster, you may get this at the same time as your flu jab, but this is not guaranteed, and you may have to attend two separate appointments.
You will not get your flu or COVID jabs at your GP practice. Please do not contact the surgery about your flu or COVID jab appointments.
If you have received a letter with an appointment that you are unable to attend, you can rearrange your appointment online at www.nhsinform.scot/flu-vaccine/invitations-and-appointments/rearrange-your-flu-vaccine-appointment.
Alternatively you can call the Lothian helpline for assistance with rebooking on: 0300 790 6296
If you are housebound, your jabs will be given to you by the community housebound team and they will be in touch to arrange this.
Keeping people safe and healthy is a priority, so before the vaccine is administered, a nurse will ask some questions to make sure it is safe to administer the vaccine. You will also be asked to sit for a short period after you have had your vaccine, to make sure that you are not experiencing any side effects.
Please do not go to your appointment if you are feeling unwell with symptoms of coronavirus, have recently tested positive for coronavirus, or have been in contact with someone who has tested positive for or who has symptoms of coronavirus.
Eligibility for a Flu Vaccine:
These groups are eligible for the flu vaccine this year:
- Adults aged 50 or over (or will be by 31 March 2022)
- Pregnant women
- People aged 6 months or over with an eligible health condition
- Healthcare workers
- NHS independent contractors including GP, dental and optometry practices, community pharmacists and laboratory staff (working on coronavirus testing) and support staff
- Social care workers who deliver direct personal care
- Unpaid and young carers
- Nursery, primary and secondary school teachers and pupil facing support staff in both a Local Authority and Independent setting
- Prisoner population
- Prison officers and support staff who deliver direct front-facing detention services
- Children aged 2–5 years and not yet in school (children must be aged 2 years or above on 1 September 2021 to be eligible)
- Primary school children (primary 1 to primary 7)
- Secondary school pupils (years 1 to 6)
Why you should get a flu vaccine
With COVID-19 around it’s more important than ever to get the flu vaccine. Flu is serious. Getting the vaccine will protect you, others and the NHS.
What should I do if I am aged 70 or older?
You will receive a letter from NHS Scotland with an appointment.
If you have received a letter with an appointment that you are unable to attend, you can rearrange your appointment online at www.nhsinform.scot/flu-vaccine/invitations-and-appointments/rearrange-your-flu-vaccine-appointment. Alternatively you can call the Lothian helpline on 0300 790 6296 for assistance with re-booking.
What you should I do if I am:
- aged 50-70
- aged under 50 and in a clinical risk group
- a carer
You will receive a letter from NHS Scotland with instruction on how to make an appointment using an online portal. You can also call the Lothian helpline on 0300 790 6296 for assistance with making an appointment.
To find out more about flu vaccines for children, visit the NHS Lothian website
Where you can get a flu vaccine if you’re not eligible for a free one
You can pay for a flu vaccination at many community pharmacies. You can search for a community pharmacy near you via the NHS Inform directory: www.nhsinform.scot/scotlands-service-directory/pharmacies
Where you can find out more
You can find more information about the flu vaccine process in Scotland at nhsinform.scot/flu. You can also call 0300 790 6296.
Eligibility for a COVID Booster:
You may also be eligible for a COVID-19 booster jab this winter. If you are, you may be given both your flu and COVID jabs at the same appointment. However, this will not always be possible, and you may have to attend two separate appointments.
A COVID booster dose will be offered to:
- those living in residential care homes for older adults
- frontline health and social care workers
- all adults aged 50 years or over
- adults aged 16 to 49 years with underlying health
- conditions that put them at higher risk of severe coronavirus
- adult carers (aged 16 or over)
- household contacts (aged 16 or over) of immunosuppressed individuals.
If you are eligible, you will either be sent an appointment letter, or be invited to make an appointment using an online portal. The booster dose can be offered any time at least 6 months after your second dose.
Spring Covid Booster
The JCVI has advised a COVID-19 spring dose for certain individuals, around 6 months after their last vaccine dose.
This will be offered to:
Adults aged 75 years and over;
Residents in a care home for older adults; and
Individuals aged 12 years and over who are immunosuppressed
You can find out more about the COVID booster vaccinations online at www.nhsinform.scot/covid-19-vaccine/the-vaccines/coronavirus-covid-19-booster-vaccination
Universal offer for children aged 5-11 years old
Children aged 5-11 years old who are not in a clinical risk group – would receive x2 doses of Pfizer with 12 weeks between doses. This is a non urgent offer and should not displace delivery of usual childhood imms. This is considered a one-off pandemic response programme.
Covid Vaccination Exemption Certificates
GPs and their teams cannot issue vaccination exemption certificates.
Further information on the vaccination exemption certificates scheme, including information on safe vaccination and routes to obtain an exemption can be found on the Scottish Government and NHS Inform websites. Alternatively you can phone the free NHS Covid helpline on: 0808 196 8565