7. The Seasonal Flu Vaccination Programme
The Seasonal Flu Vaccination Programme this year runs from September 2021 until the end of March 2022. This is our largest ever flu programme and will offer vaccination across all of the eligible groups with an aim to prioritise the roll out to the elderly and those who are most vulnerable to flu.
Based on clinical advice, we have sought to prioritise those at highest clinical risk and those in the existing eligible cohorts are:
- Pre-school children aged 2-5 years;
- All primary school children in P 1-7;
- All patients aged 65 years and over;
- All patients aged 18-64 years at clinical risk;
- Pregnant women;
- People in long-stay residential care or homes;
- Unpaid Carers and young carers; and
- Health and Social Care workers.
This year we are extending the national programme again offering vaccination to:
- Independent contractors (GP, dental and optometry practices, community pharmacists, laboratory staff working on COVID-19 testing) including support staff;
- Teachers, Nursery Teachers and pupil facing support staff (in both a Local Authority and Independent setting);
- Prison population and prison officers and support staff who deliver direct detention services;
- Secondary school pupils; and
- All those aged 50-64 years old.
The extensions to the Seasonal Flu Vaccination programme this year is in place to increase winter resilience and reduce the incidence of respiratory viruses circulating. With that in mind, the programme will be kept under review and aligned with the recommendations from the JCVI for the coming programme 2022/23.
Each year in Scotland thousands of people are hospitalised with flu. All those who are eligible are being urged to take up the offer as soon as possible, to ensure maximum protection. As the winter approaches, our immunity may be even lower than usual due to lower levels of the flu virus circulating last year as a result of the crucial public health measures in place to protect the population from COVID-19. Therefore this year, more than ever, it is important to get the flu vaccine to ensure everyone is protected.
This winter, for those not eligible for a free flu vaccine, some employers offer vaccinations through workplaces and community pharmacies in Scotland may offer the flu vaccination as a private service.
Our public health measures that are in place, such as washing your hands regularly and trying to stay at home if you are feeling unwell will help to reduce the risk of catching flu this winter.
More information about the flu vaccine is available on nhsinform.scot/flu or call 0800 030 8013.