The winter vaccination programme for 2023 is well underway and Health Boards across Scotland are delivering flu and COVID-19 vaccines at pace to those eligible this season.
As of 01 October 2023, the programme has so far administered a total of 449,999 flu vaccines for eligible adults 18 and over, 82,946 flu vaccines for eligible children six months to 17 years old and 274,128 COVID-19 vaccines across the eligible groups since 4 September.
Most adults who are eligible for one or both vaccines will have already been contacted by NHS Scotland. Depending on communication preferences, this will have been by letter, email or text.
Most flu and COVID-19 vaccinations will be complete by early December before the peak winter season is most likely. It’s strongly recommended to get vaccinated if you’re eligible this winter.
The vaccines offered this year provide very good protection against hospitalisation and severe illness from both flu and COVID-19.
People with underlying health conditions that put them at greater risk of illness from flu and COVID-19 and pregnant women are strongly recommended to take up the vaccine when offered. Pregnant women can book an appointment online or via the national vaccination helpline, with further information available from midwives. Flu and COVID-19 infection can lead to complications such as early labour, low birth weight and stillbirth.
Vaccinations continue to be offered to frontline health and social care workers to protect the workforce and our vital health and social care services over the winter months. Those that have not yet received their vaccinations are encouraged to come forward and make an appointment or check local arrangements for staff vaccination.
Please attend the appointment you’ve been given, or make or rearrange your appointment as soon as possible. If you’re having difficulty getting an appointment on the booking portal, please wait a few days and try again.
If you have been given an appointment, but do not wish to receive your vaccines, cancelling your appointment via the portal or helpline is appreciated in order to free up spare appointments for people who are eager to get vaccinated.
If you think you may be eligible for either a flu or COVID-19 vaccine this winter (or both) you can check using our self help guide at www.nhsinform.scot/wintervaccines and book an appointment.
Children under 16 with certain conditions are eligible for a COVID-19 vaccine this winter. Invitations for those aged 12-15 have already been sent. Parents and carers of those under 12 should wait to be contacted by NHS Scotland.
Public Health Minister, Jenni Minto on receiving her flu vaccination today in Edinburgh said:
“I was pleased to be able to get my flu vaccination at Ocean Terminal in Edinburgh and want to use this opportunity to highlight to all those eligible that you can book an appointment which is convenient for you – whether it be near your home or place of work.
“This year’s winter vaccination programme will see flu and COVID-19 vaccines offered to eligible groups right through to December. Most adults who are eligible for one or both vaccines will already have been contacted by NHS Scotland. Depending on communication preferences, this will have been by letter, email or text.
“Vaccination remains the best way to protect yourself and the NHS from both COVID-19 and flu viruses, and I encourage everyone to help us maintain the high uptake rates we have seen over the past three years by attending the appointment you’ve been given, or by making or rearranging your appointment as soon as possible.”
Dr Claire Cameron, Consultant in Health Protection, Public Health Scotland said:
“Vaccination remains the best way to protect yourself and others and we’re pleased to see so many people coming forward to take up the offer. The vaccinations offered this season provide strong protection against severe illness from flu and COVID-19.
“Winter vaccine appointments will be available for all those eligible. Although there are a range of vaccination sites available in each Health Board, there may be fewer spare appointments available. The re-phasing of the programme to bring forward appointments for our most vulnerable has had an impact on appointment availability meaning you may not be able to book an appointment until a bit later. If you’re not able to get an appointment as soon as you’d like, please be assured there will be times available to you over the coming weeks right through to December. Health Boards are working at pace to ensure everyone eligible is protected this winter and appreciate your understanding.“
Find out more about the winter vaccination programme at NHS Inform