Who will be offered the coronavirus vaccine

NHS Scotland will be in touch with you to arrange your vaccination appointment when you are eligible.

Please do not contact your GP practice or NHS health board for a vaccination before then.

The coronavirus vaccine is free to everyone in Scotland. Do not share your bank details with anyone offering you the vaccine for a fee

Why you should be vaccinated

The aim is to get as many people as possible vaccinated as quickly as possible. This will drive infections to the lowest level possible, particularly as a significantly more infectious and faster spreading strain has developed.

The vaccine is not mandatory but NHS Scotland strongly recommends you get the vaccine when offered it.

Who is currently being offered the coronavirus vaccine?

NHS Scotland are following the Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation (JCVI) advice and are vaccinating those most at risk first, and those who work closest with them.

Those who have already been invited or are currently being invited to be vaccinated are:

  • residents in a care home for older adults and their carers
  • front line health and social care workers
  • clinically extremely vulnerable individuals
  • everyone aged 50 and over
  • those aged 16 to 64 with underlying health conditions which put them at higher risk of serious disease and mortality
  • all adults with a learning disability – mild, moderate, severe and profound
  • unpaid carers aged 16 to 64

Adults experiencing homelessness and rough sleeping may also now be invited.

People with underlying health conditions and unpaid carers are a large group of people. It will take several weeks to get everyone in these groups vaccinated so please be patient.

People aged 16 and 17 can receive the vaccine if they:

  • are identified as clinically extremely vulnerable, or as having a specific underlying health condition
  • are an unpaid carer
  • are in health and social care JCVI Group 2, frontline health or social care worker 

People aged 16 and 17 will normally be offered the Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine.

Underlying health conditions

Health conditions that put people aged 16 years and over at higher risk of serious disease and mortality include:

Chronic respiratory disease

Severe lung conditions, including:

  • asthma that requires continuous or repeated use of systemic steroids or with previous exacerbations requiring hospital admission (patients who are well controlled on asthma inhalers are not eligible in priority group 6 for coronavirus vaccination)
  • chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) including chronic bronchitis and emphysema bronchiectasis
  • cystic fibrosis
  • interstitial lung fibrosis
  • pneumoconiosis
  • bronchopulmonary dysplasia (BPD)
Chronic heart disease and vascular disease

Conditions such as:

  • congenital heart disease
  • hypertension with cardiac complications
  • chronic heart failure
  • individuals requiring regular medication and/or follow-up for ischaemic heart disease
  • atrial fibrillation
  • peripheral vascular disease
  • venous thromboembolism
Chronic kidney disease

Conditions such as:

  • chronic kidney disease at stage 3, 4 or 5
  • chronic kidney failure
  • nephrotic syndrome
  • kidney transplantation
Chronic liver disease

Conditions such as:

  • cirrhosis
  • biliary atresia
  • chronic hepatitis
Chronic neurological disease

Conditions such as:

  • stroke
  • transient ischaemic attack (TIA)
  • conditions in which respiratory function may be compromised due to neurological disease (e.g. polio syndrome sufferers)
  • cerebral palsy
  • severe or profound learning disabilities
  • Down’s Syndrome
  • multiple sclerosis
  • epilepsy
  • dementia
  • Parkinson’s disease
  • motor neurone disease and related or similar conditions
  • hereditary and degenerative disease of the nervous system or muscles
  • severe neurological disability
Diabetes mellitus

Any diabetes, including diet-controlled diabetes and gestational diabetes.


Conditions or treatments such as:

  • immunosuppression due to disease or treatment, including patients undergoing chemotherapy leading to immunosuppression
  • undergoing radical radiotherapy
  • solid organ transplant recipients
  • bone marrow or stem cell transplant recipients
  • HIV infection at all stages
  • multiple myeloma or genetic disorders affecting the immune system (e.g. IRAK-4, NEMO, complement disorder, SCID)
  • receiving immunosuppressive or immunomodulating biological therapy including, but not limited to anti-TNF, alemtuzumab, ofatumumab and rituximab
  • receiving protein kinase inhibitors or PARP inhibitors
    being treated with steroid-sparing agents such as cyclophosphamide and mycophenolate mofetil
  • being treated with or likely to be treated with systemic steroids for more than a month at a dose equivalent to prednisolone at 20mg or more per day for adults

This also includes:

  • anyone with a history of haematological malignancy, including leukaemia, lymphoma, and myeloma
  • anyone with systemic lupus erythematosus and rheumatoid arthritis,
  • anyone with psoriasis who may require long term immunosuppressive treatments
  • anyone with Addison’s disease
Asplenia or dysfunction of the spleen

This also includes conditions that may lead to splenic dysfunction, such as homozygous sickle cell disease, thalassemia major and coeliac syndrome.

Morbid obesity

Adults with a Body Mass Index (BMI) greater than or equal to 40.

Severe mental illness

Conditions such as schizophrenia, bipolar disorder, or any mental illness that causes severe functional impairment.

Younger adults in long-stay nursing and residential care settings

Many younger adults in residential care settings will be eligible for the coronavirus vaccine because they fall into one of the clinical risk groups (for example learning disabilities).

Given the likely high risk of exposure in these settings, vaccination of the whole resident population is recommended.

Younger residents in care homes for the elderly will also be at a higher risk of exposure. Although they may be at lower risk of mortality than older residents, they should be offered the coronavirus vaccine.

Unpaid carers

Unpaid carers aged 16 to 64 are now being offered vaccination alongside adults with eligible at-risk health conditions (priority group 6).

Those unpaid carers aged 65 and over will have been offered the vaccine earlier in priority groups 2 to 5.

Unpaid carers being prioritised for vaccination are those who provide face-to-face care (without payment) for someone else due to a disability, ill-health, frailty or addiction issues.

Unpaid carers will be invited to get their coronavirus vaccine by phone or letter.

This information sheet from the Scottish Government has more information about additional support for unpaid carers.

If you are not registered with your GP as a carer, you can now register for a vaccine.

Register for a vaccine

If you provide vital face-to-face care and support for others and haven’t already been given an appointment, you can now register for the coronavirus vaccine.

How to register for a vaccine if you're an unpaid carer

Frontline social care workers

The JCVI definition of frontline social care workers is:

  • those working in long-stay residential and nursing care homes or other long-stay care facilities where rapid spread is likely to follow introduction of infection and cause high levels of illness or death
  • social care staff directly involved in the care of their patients or clients
  • others involved directly in delivering social care such that they and vulnerable patients/ clients are at increased risk of exposure

Frontline social care workers working directly with local authority or NHS services will be contacted by their local health board for vaccination.

Social care workers in the private/independent or third sector

A letter has been issued to the third and independent sector which provides further advice for staff to self-assess their eligibility for vaccination.

It includes information for social care workers to arrange their vaccination appointment. Speak to your employer for more information.

Clinically extremely vulnerable

Clinically extremely vulnerable individuals are those who were recommended by the NHS to shield.

Everyone in this group will be eligible for a vaccination at the same time as those aged 70 and over. People with underlying health conditions who are not on the shielding list will be offered the vaccine shortly after that.

Highest risk groups who were recommended to shield

Read further information about JCVI advice on priority groups including phase two for the coronavirus vaccination on GOV.UK.

Who should not get the vaccination

You should not get the coronavirus vaccine if you've had a severe anaphylactic reaction to any of the ingredients in the vaccine or a previous dose of the vaccine.

Before you're vaccinated, tell the person giving you the vaccine if you've ever had a serious allergic reaction (anaphylaxis).

This will affect very few people, but you will be able to ask any questions at your appointment.

Further information about the vaccines and their ingredients

Pregnancy, breastfeeding and the vaccine

If you're pregnant or breastfeeding, read more about the coronavirus vaccine and pregnancy.