NHS Scotland is offering the coronavirus (COVID-19) vaccine to children aged 6 months to 11 years at higher risk of coronavirus this winter.
To be invited for vaccination this winter, your child must have turned 6 months old by 1 September 2023.
NHS Scotland will contact you with appointment details if your child has had a previous coronavirus vaccine or if they’ve recently become eligible. If your child is eligible and not had a previous dose you may not be contacted. You can book an appointment by phoning the national vaccination helpline on 0800 030 8013.
How does the vaccine work?
The vaccine helps to build up immunity to coronavirus, so the body can fight it off more easily. The vaccine cannot give you coronavirus. If your child comes into contact with the infection, the antibodies recognise it and help protect them.
Vaccine manufacturer patient information leaflets
More information about the vaccines offered, including vaccine ingredients, is available in the manufacturer patient information leaflets.
Read the coronavirus vaccine patient information leaflet for 6 months to 4 years:
Read the coronavirus vaccine patient information leaflet for 5 to 11 years:
It’s important to let the vaccinator know if your child is receiving any medicines, treatment or therapy at a hospital or specialist clinic. If you have questions about the timing of your child’s vaccine, speak to their health professional or specialist.
Preparing your child for vaccination
- make sure your child wears practical clothing that’s easy to get off and on
- it might be useful to take your child’s favourite toy or blanket with you
- if you feel anxious yourself, or if you have a fear of needles, try to stay calm and show your child there’s nothing to fear
- let the person giving the vaccine know if you or your child feel nervous – they’ll be very understanding and can provide support
At the vaccination appointment
At the appointment, the vaccinator will check parent or carer consent. They’ll give you information and explain anything that you’re unsure about or do not understand.
The coronavirus vaccine is given as an injection in the upper arm or thigh. The needles used are small and your child should only feel a tiny pinprick.
Can I rearrange my child’s appointment?
If your child’s appointment isn’t suitable and you’d like to rearrange it, or you do not wish for your child to be vaccinated at this time, please phone your local health board. Your local number can be found on your child’s invitation letter.
What if my child is ill on the day?
Your child can still have the coronavirus vaccine if they have a minor illness as long as they do not have a fever. If your child feels very unwell, their coronavirus vaccine appointment be postponed until they have fully recovered.
You should not attend an appointment if you or your child have a fever or think you might be infectious to others.
Common side effects
Like all medicines, vaccines can cause side effects. Your child may experience side effects after receiving their vaccine, but these are usually mild, only last 1 or 2 days and should not last longer than a week.
Your child might:
- get redness, swelling or tenderness where the injection was given, which is worst around 1 to 2 days after the vaccine
- appear to feel more tired
- have general aches or mild flu-like symptoms
- have a fever or be a bit irritable
Phone 111 if:
- your child’s side effects seem to get worse
You should tell them about your child’s vaccination so they can assess your child properly.
Fever after the coronavirus vaccine
It’s quite common to develop a fever (temperature above 37.8ºC) after a vaccination.
Fevers are usually mild, so you only need to give a dose of infant paracetamol if your child is not comfortable or is unwell. Read the instructions on the product packaging and patient information leaflet very carefully. Never give medicines that contain aspirin to children under 16 years of age.
If your child’s fever starts more than 48 hours after the vaccine, lasts longer than 48 hours, or is above 39ºC, your child may have another infection and you should seek medical advice.
Rare side effects
An uncommon side effect is swollen glands in the armpit or neck on the same side as the arm where your child had the vaccine. This can last for around 10 days, but if it lasts longer see your doctor.
Cases of inflammation of the heart (called myocarditis or pericarditis) have been reported rarely after the coronavirus vaccines. Among children, the risk of myocarditis following vaccination decreases with decreasing age.
You should seek medical advice urgently if your child experiences any of the following side effects after vaccination:
- symptoms of a severe allergic reaction, such as difficulty breathing, wheezing or reduced level of consciousness
- shortness of breath or chest pain
- feelings of having a fast-beating, fluttering or pounding heart
Phone your GP or NHS 24 on 111.
Reporting side effects
As with all vaccines, you can report suspected side effects through the Yellow Card website.