Because of the new Omicron variant, NHSScotland is rolling out the COVID-19 booster vaccine programme more quickly as a priority.
NHSScotland is focusing on providing COVID-19 booster vaccines.
Flu infections are lower this year potentially because of:
- personal precautions such as wearing a mask and hand washing
- those at highest risk of flu having the flu vaccine in high numbers before mid-December
The flu vaccine will not be offered to low risk groups for the rest of the flu season.
- teachers, nursery teachers and pupil facing support staff in both local authority and independent settings
- prison officers and support staff who deliver direct detention services
- those aged 50 to 64 years old without underlying risk factors
People at a high risk from flu can still have the flu vaccine.
- pregnant women
- those aged 65 years or over
- those with underlying health conditions
- frontline health and social care workers
- adult unpaid carers
- adults aged 16 years or over who live with someone with a severely weakened immune system
Further guidance about eligible groups
The Royal College of Midwives along with Scotland’s Chief Medical and Chief Nursing Officers recommend that all pregnant women should have the flu vaccine.
The flu vaccine can be given at any stage in pregnancy during flu season.
Pregnant women should have the flu vaccine every time they are pregnant because the flu viruses circulating change each year and immunity reduces over time.
The flu vaccine helps protect pregnant women and their developing babies against flu during pregnancy and for at least three months after birth.
Most NHS boards and Health and Social Care Partnerships (HSCPs) will be delivering the flu vaccine to pregnant women through their local maternity services this year.
Adults with a health condition
People with certain health conditions are at greater risk from flu.
View the list of conditions and diseases that can make flu more dangerous on NHS inform's flu vaccine pages (external website).
Adults in care settings
The flu vaccination is also recommended for people in:
- long-stay residential care homes
- other long-stay care facilities
Healthcare workers and NHS independent contractors
Healthcare workers are offered a free flu vaccine every year. This group has expanded to include NHS independent contractors in 2021.
Social care workers
Social care workers who regularly provide direct care and support are eligible for a free flu vaccine.
This includes, but is not limited to, people working in:
- residential care for adults
- children's residential or secure care
- the community, providing care at home (including housing support and personal assistant)
Unpaid and young carers
Unpaid and young carers are eligible to receive the free flu vaccine. Young carers are those who are under 18 years old.
Unpaid carers provide essential help and support without pay. They may care for a partner, child, relative, friend or neighbour.
Support may be needed due to age, physical or mental illness, addiction or disability.
For further information about eligible adult groups in 2021 to 2022, view the Scottish Government Chief Medical Officer letter (external website).
An update to the eligible groups is available in the Scottish Government Chief Medical Officer letter on 15 December 2021. View the CMO letter about supporting further acceleration of the booster programme.