We have learned from our own experiences and from those of others throughout the pandemic. As we move into the autumn and winter of 2022, we are still listening and driving the vaccination programme forward to respond to the most prevalent challenges that we face as a society.
As COVID-19 rightly remains a priority issue for the Scottish Government, we also recognise the importance of other health risks. Seasonal flu is an annual strain on the NHS and one that endangers the lives of our most vulnerable citizens. We are encouraging everyone who is eligible for COVID-19 and/or the flu vaccine to come forward when invited to do so. This season we will aim, where possible, to co-administer both vaccinations, providing those eligible with both the COVID-19 vaccine and the flu vaccine at the same appointment. Vaccinations remain our best protection against seasonal flu and COVID-19 for those most at risk of severe respiratory illness.
This Deployment Plan sets out the steps that we will take to provide 2022’s winter round of vaccinations, who will be eligible for a COVID-19 vaccine and/or a flu vaccine, and where you can find more information on the programme.
As ever, the Scottish Government has taken advice from the Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation (JCVI), an independent expert advisory committee on immunisations. We have been guided by their advice and recommendations throughout the pandemic on who should be offered both COVID-19 and flu vaccines. This is based on clinical priority and protects the most vulnerable in our society. We are all well aware of the seriousness of this virus and we have seen all areas of life, society and business mobilise to tackle this pandemic. We are also proud of how far we have come and how our health service are able to continue offering vaccines to those most at risk.
The vaccination programme began on 5 September 2022, starting with frontline health and social care workers, residents and staff of care homes for older adults and the housebound. Community appointments for those aged 65 and over will begin on 19 September. The next group to be called will be the at risk group (which includes carers and household contacts of the immunosuppressed), followed by those aged 50 to 64 without underlying health conditions. Further detail on the delivery of vaccination for these groups is detailed in section 4 below titled ‘Delivery Models’.
We ask for your patience in awaiting your letter prior to booking an appointment in order to prioritise those most at-risk – you don’t need to do anything until you are invited. Rescheduling an appointment can also be done using our online portal.
For those children who are deemed at-risk, they should get their appointment in a letter with the date and time, if they are household contact of immunosuppressed then they will need to book via the national vaccination helpline (0800 030 8013), open 9am to 6pm Monday to Friday, and 9am to 1pm on Saturday. Please note, primary and secondary school children will receive their flu vaccination at school.
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