NHS Scotland - winter preparedness plan: 2020 to 2021

The Winter Preparedness Plan sets out, at a high level, the broad context and priorities for the NHS in Scotland until March 2021.

Vaccination Response

In order to help prevent unnecessary pressure being placed on our health service, delivery of the seasonal flu vaccine and a potential COVID-19 vaccine will form a critical part of our action plan.


  • Ensuring at least 2.422m individuals are supported to access flu vaccinations this year (a 50% increase on last year’s programme), with vaccinations delivered to the majority of high risk groups by December 2020.
  • Subject to clinical advice and stock availability, deliver a COVID-19 vaccine, firstly to agreed priority groups, focused on the most vulnerable, and then to the wider population as soon as a vaccine is available in order to vaccinate the largest number of people possible.

How We Will Deliver This

  • Ensure delivery models balance need to vaccinate large numbers of individuals against flu, in a COVID-safe manner, whilst ensuring a patient-centred approach for all at-risk groups.
  • Utilise weekly delivery schedule of supply and demand of flu vaccine, provided by NSS, along with other available data to track progress.
  • Assess the adequacy of workforce in place for each health board on the basis of its combination of delivery channels and validated productivity assumptions.
  • For the COVID-19 vaccine, develop a policy framework, national delivery framework, and service delivery manual, based on clinical advice and building on the learning from seasonal flu, to be in place by end of November 2020, to support Scotland wide delivery, in the event that a COVID-19 vaccine(s) becomes available. Delivery of a COVID-19 vaccine will involve a nationally-determined and directed framework with local delivery to that led by our health boards.
  • Safe and effective COVID-19 vaccine procured and distributed via UK Government’s 4 nations approach.
  • Develop a network of COVID-19 vaccination locations that are secure, are sufficiently resourced and can manage expected volumes in a safe and efficient manner.
  • Put in place improved digital infrastructure to improve vaccination data collection and reporting.
  • Provide workforce modelling capability, based on agreed delivery channels to support the identification of additional sources of workforce and reduce barriers to deployment.


Email: Winter_Planning_Team_Mailbox@gov.scot

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