Eligible groups and invitations

NHS Scotland is currently offering the free flu vaccine to all eligible groups.

Appointments are offered in different ways.

Vaccines will be given in a range of healthcare settings.

Who is invited to book an appointment online?

An online booking portal is available for the following groups:

  • adults aged 50 to 59
  • unpaid carers aged 16 or over
  • those aged 16 or over who are household contacts of immunosuppressed individuals
  • health and social care workers
  • teachers and pupil facing support staff
  • prison officers and support staff who provide front facing detention services

Book an appointment online or direct others to: www.nhsinform.scot/vaccinebooking (external website)

Appointments can also be made by phoning the National Vaccination Helpline on 0800 030 8013 (available 8am to 8pm, 7 days a week).

Who is invited by letter?

Letters were sent out to:

  • adults aged 60 or over
  • people aged 6 months or over with an eligible health condition

If someone has not received a letter, they can login to the online booking system to check their appointment time.

Who is invited by midwives?

  • pregnant women

How is the prison population offered the vaccine?

  • people living in prisons (within a detention estate) will be offered their flu vaccine by the Prison Healthcare Team

Further guidance about eligible groups

Adults aged 50 and over

Older adults are more vulnerable to both COVID-19 and seasonal flu than younger age groups. The flu vaccine will lower the risk of people who are aged 50 or over getting infected with both viruses at the same time.

People aged 60 or over will receive an invitation letter in the post. 

People aged 50 to 59 can book a vaccine appointment online (external website) or via the National Vaccination Helpline (0800 030 8013, available 8am to 8pm, 7 days a week).

Pregnancy

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).

People with an eligible health condition will receive an invitation letter in the post. They can also use the online booking portal to check their appointment, or book one if needed. 

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.

Healthcare workers can book an appointment online to get a flu vaccine this year.

Find out more about booking appointments for healthcare workers online on NHS inform (external website).

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:

  • hospitals
  • residential care for adults
  • children's residential or secure care
  • the community, providing care at home (including housing support and personal assistant)

Social care workers can book an appointment online to get a flu vaccine this year. 

Find out more about booking appointments for social care workers online on NHS inform (external website).

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.

Unpaid carers (aged 16 and over) can book a vaccine appointment online (external website) or via the National Vaccination Helpline (0800 030 8013, available 8am to 8pm, 7 days a week).

Those who are registered as unpaid carers will receive a letter.

Teachers, nursery teachers and support staff

Any teacher, nursery teacher or support staff who have close contact with pupils can receive a free flu vaccine.

Both those employed in local authorities and independent settings are eligible.

Some teachers may get vaccinated in school.

An online portal is also available for education staff to book an appointment at a community clinic.

Find out more about key worker vaccination appointments on NHS inform (external website).

Access information about how the flu vaccine will be given in schools this year.

Prisons

To reduce the risk of infection and transmission of the flu virus and to maintain the resilience of services during the COVID-19 response, the following groups have also been added to the vaccination programme:

  • prison population
  • prison staff and support staff

NHS staff will visit prisons to deliver the vaccine.

Prison staff can also book an appointment at a community clinic.

Find out more about key worker vaccination appointments on NHS inform (external website).

Further information

For further information about eligible adult groups in 2021 to 2022, view the Scottish Government Chief Medical Officer letter (external website).

Last updated: 17 November 2021