Scotland’s winter vaccination programme has started, with a range of vulnerable groups being offered the vaccine against flu from 4 September.

Invitations to book or attend an appointment have already been sent to those eligible for a flu vaccine by post, in a white NHS Scotland envelope, by email or text, depending on communication preferences.

Flu is serious and even healthy people can become very ill from it. Flu cases were at their highest since 2018/19 last year, with over 14,000 confirmed cases across all age groups.  The flu virus is always changing and getting vaccinated every year is the best way to stay protected for the whole winter season.

The expansion of the flu programme to include secondary school pupils continues this winter, with all people between 50 – 64 years, all school age pupils, children aged 2-5 and children aged 6 months to under 2 years at risk being eligible.

Both flu and COVID-19 vaccines will be offered to people most vulnerable to illness and, where possible, administered at the same time. 

Vaccination remains the best way to protect yourself and we strongly encourage those eligible to take up the vaccination offer when it comes. Parents and carers are being encouraged to look out for an appointment letter by post, or a consent form in your child’s school bag and take up the flu vaccine offer this winter.

This year’s winter vaccination programme is focused on protecting those most vulnerable to flu and COVID-19. Eligible groups will be invited for vaccination as the programme progresses through the autumn and winter.

To prevent the spread of flu and COVID-19, we continue to advise staying home with any respiratory symptoms and to wash hands regularly.

Dr Claire Cameron, Consultant in Health Protection, Public Health Scotland said:

“Getting vaccinated is the safest and most effective way to protect yourself against flu and COVID-19 this winter. 

“Those eligible for a flu or flu and COVID-19 vaccination this winter should look out for their invitation to book or attend their appointment. Coming forward when invited to do so is the best way to stay protected and will help to alleviate pressures on local Health Boards who are working to deliver the winter vaccination programme at pace.”

For more information on the winter vaccination programme visit NHS Inform.

Last updated: 05 September 2023