How you will get the coronavirus vaccine

As the coronavirus (COVID-19) vaccine is given in 2 doses, your vaccination journey will happen in 4 stages:

  • Receiving an invitation for your first dose
  • Attending your first vaccination appointment
  • Receiving an invitation for your second dose
  • Attending your second vaccination appointment

You need to get both doses of the vaccine for maximum protection. The second dose gives you more and longer-term protection against the coronavirus variants that are currently causing concern, including the highly transmissible Delta variant.

In response to the new variant currently circulating in parts of the UK, and in line with updated JCVI advice, second doses which are not already scheduled are being brought forward from 12 weeks to 8 weeks across Scotland, where supply allows.

Vaccination locations

Vaccinations are taking place differently across Scotland to reflect the needs of local communities.

Your coronavirus vaccination (jab, injection) may not take place at your GP practice. NHS Scotland will confirm local arrangements.

NHS Scotland will try and arrange for you to be vaccinated at the nearest location to your home but this might not always be possible.

Invitation for your first vaccine dose

You will receive an invitation letter or phone call with your appointment details, depending on your circumstances and health board. You will receive your invitation by text message or e-mail if you have registered online.

You should make every effort to attend the appointment at the time arranged for you.

If you are going to attend the appointment, you do not need to do anything to confirm that you're going.

Please reschedule or cancel your appointment if you cannot attend so your appointment can be given to someone else.

You should use NHS Scotland's appointment tracker to check if you have an appointment scheduled.

If you’re feeling unwell with symptoms of coronavirus, do not attend your vaccine appointment. You should self-isolate and book a coronavirus test.

Receiving your first dose

The vaccine will be given as an injection in the upper arm. It only takes a few minutes to get the coronavirus vaccine.

On the day of your vaccine, wear practical, loose clothing so it’s easy to access your upper arm.

More about attending your vaccination appointment

Invitation for your second vaccine dose

The second dose of the coronavirus vaccine can be given between 3 and 12 weeks after the first dose.

The Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation (JCVI) recommends a gap of 8 to 12 weeks between doses.

You will be advised when to return for your second dose.

There are no safety concerns if the time between your first and second dose is more than 12 weeks. 

You do not need to do anything to arrange your second dose. NHS Scotland will contact you with your appointment details. Wait to be contacted.

If your second dose appointment is earlier than 8 weeks after your first dose, you should reschedule online, phone the COVID-19 Vaccination Helpline on 0800 030 8013, or attend a local drop-in clinic during the eighth week after your first dose.

If you are immunosuppressed and have an earlier second dose appointment for clinical reasons, you should attend your appointment as planned.

You may be invited to get your second dose at a different vaccination clinic from the one you attended for your first dose. This will help NHS Scotland offer everyone a vaccine as quickly as possible.

Remember to rearrange or cancel your appointment if you cannot attend so your appointment can be given to someone else.

The second dose completes the course and is likely to be important for longer-term protection. It's important to get both doses to protect yourself against coronavirus.

Receiving your second dose

You should follow the same instructions as you did for your first vaccination.

More about attending your vaccination appointment

Travelling to your vaccination appointment

It's important to plan ahead and allow yourself extra time to travel to the venue.

Remember to wear a face covering while travelling to and from your appointment, as well as during your appointment. Maintain physical distancing at all times.

You should also wash or sanitise your hands regularly.

If you have been advised to shield to protect you from coronavirus and cannot access transport to get to your vaccination appointment, phone the coronavirus vaccination helpline on 0800 030 8013 for assistance.

Help with planning your public transport journey is also available on the Traveline Scotland website or by phoning 0141 465 1878 (open 24 hours).