Winter vaccines programme begins

More than two million people will be offered appointments.

Elderly care home residents are among the first to receive COVID-19 and flu vaccines as the winter vaccine programme gets underway.

More than two million people in Scotland will be offered vaccines over the next three months - helping protect the public and relieving pressure on the NHS.

Invitations will have been sent to all over 65s by the end of the week and more than 41,000 frontline health and social care workers have booked appointments through the portal since it opened last month, continuing efforts to keep Scotland as the UK’s leading nation in vaccine uptake.

Both new bivalent vaccines, which target Omicron and the original variant of COVID-19, will be deployed alongside existing vaccines, though the vaccination individuals receive will depend on age and vaccine availability. Both the current and new bivalent vaccines provide good protection from severe illness and hospitalisation from known COVID-19 variants. The COVID-19 vaccine will be given at the same time as the flu jab where possible.

Health Secretary Humza Yousaf visited the Victoria Manor care home in Edinburgh where residents Agnes Taylor and Andrew Young were among those being vaccinated.

Mr Yousaf said:

“This country is indebted to those dedicated frontline workers who work tirelessly to get the majority of Scots immunised all year round – and whose efforts have led to a sharp reduction in hospitalisations in recent months.

“Vaccination remains the best way to protect yourselves, your loved ones, and the NHS from both COVID-19 and flu viruses, and I encourage you to take up the offer of a booster when you receive your appointment.”

Edinburgh Health and Social Care Partnership Primary Care Strategic Lead David White said:

“Like colleagues across Scotland, we’ve been preparing for the winter vaccination programme. Everyone eligible across Edinburgh, should have easy, local access to receive both flu and Covid-19 vaccinations.

“As with other recent campaigns, we have made special arrangements for care home residents and others who are recognised as  ‘house-bound’. This includes the eligible partners and carers who will be able to be vaccinated during the same visit. Over 1.25 million people in Edinburgh have received their vaccinations since December 2020, and we encourage all eligible people to attend for vaccination.”

93-year-old Victoria Manor resident Mrs Taylor said:

“It’s good being able to have both vaccinations at the same time here in the care home. I’m getting both to help my protection and of course, for the protection and safety of others in the care home or visiting.”


More information on winter vaccines | NHS inform

Following final advice on the winter COVID-19 booster programme from the Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation (JCVI), the following groups will be offered an additional COVID-19 booster:

  • residents in a care home for older adults and staff working in care homes for older adults 
  • frontline health and social care workers
  • all adults aged 50 years and over
  • those aged 5 to 49 years in a clinical risk group, including those who are pregnant
  • those aged 5 to 49 years who are household contacts of people with immunosuppression
  • carers aged 16-49 years

Eligible people should wait until they are contacted or called forward. Where possible, the winter COVID-19 booster will be given at the same time as the flu vaccine to those who are eligible.

The booking portal has been available to health and social care workers to book appointments for their COVID-19 and flu vaccines from Monday 22 August. Staff should book on the portal or follow advice from their boards on any local arrangements.


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