Healthcare workers and NHS independent contractors

Scotland’s Chief Medical and Chief Nursing Officers recommend healthcare workers (including NHS independent contractors) should have the flu vaccine. If you don't get the vaccine you are putting yourself and people you care for at risk.

Why should I get the vaccine?

Healthcare workers, directly delivering care, are more likely to be exposed to the flu virus.

Every year in Scotland, a number of healthcare workers get flu, particularly where flu is present in care homes and hospitals.

Having the vaccine is the best way to help protect yourself against flu this year.

It reduces the risk of spreading flu to your family, patients and colleagues who could be at risk of catching the virus.

Healthcare workers who have flu can spread flu to their patients and family even if they have very mild symptoms or have no symptoms at all.

Patients with health conditions are 18 times more likely to die from flu than people without health conditions. People with a compromised immune system are over 50 times more likely than a healthy person to die of flu. People with liver problems are over 60 times more likely to die.

Even for healthy people, flu can be serious, making them feel extremely unwell and unable to carry on with everyday activities.

Who should have the flu vaccine?

It’s recommended that anyone who works in healthcare and is directly involved in patient care, should have the flu vaccine. This includes, but isn't limited to:

  • anyone who works in a GP practice, community pharmacy, dental surgery, optometrist or hospital
  • workers in paediatric wards, cancer centres and intensive care
  • those working in the community, visiting patients at home
  • laboratory staff (working on coronavirus testing) and support staff
  • NHS independent contractors

Visit the NHS Education for Scotland website to find out why getting immunised against flu is important.

How to book

Due to the new Omicron variant, NHS Scotland is rolling out the coronavirus vaccine programme more quickly as a priority and will no longer be offering flu alongside coronavirus boosters at the community clinics.

With the amount of flu infections being lower this season, and with precautions being taken (such as face masks, hand washing and sanitising) and with those in the highest risk of flu having taken up the flu vaccine in high numbers before mid-December, NHS Scotland are now focusing more on coronavirus booster vaccines.

As a frontline healthcare worker, you can still have flu vaccine this winter season, but not in NHS Scotland's coronavirus vaccination clinics.

You may be able to get your flu vaccine at NHS community pharmacy, via your midwife (if you are pregnant) or NHS Scotland may restart offering flu in the new year in any of our community clinics.

Further information

Further information is available in the flu vaccine - healthcare workers leaflet.