The flu vaccine is offered to all primary and secondary school children in Scotland. It’s normally given at school between September and December.
If your child has a health condition they're also offered the vaccine in school and no longer need to get it from your GP.
All children will be sent home with a letter, leaflet and consent form. You should complete the consent form and send it back to school with your child. Your primary school child can only get the nasal vaccine if you have sent back a completed and signed consent form.
If you have a child in secondary school, talk to them about getting the flu vaccine. It’s a decision you should make together.
It’s not always necessary for secondary school pupils to get consent from their parent or carer to receive their flu vaccine. They may be vaccinated after giving their own consent following discussion with the vaccinator, even if their consent form is not returned.
More information on young people’s right to consent
What if I change my mind?
If you change your mind about consent after returning the consent form, you should contact your local NHS Board (see letter for contact details).
To withdraw consent, you must write to your local NHS Board.
To give consent, you will need to fill in a new consent form.
What if my child’s ill on the day?
Your child should not have the vaccine if:
- they’re very unwell (for example, with a fever, diarrhoea or vomiting)
- their asthma is worse than usual, meaning they are wheezing more or have had to use their inhaler more than they normally do in the 3 days before their vaccination
Otherwise there is no reason to delay getting the vaccine.
What if my child misses their vaccination?
If your child misses their vaccination in school, please contact your local health board to find out about local arrangements for getting their vaccine at another time. Contact details for your local health board are on your child’s invitation letter.
If you have lost your letter please contact your child’s school or phone 0800 030 8013.
Does my child need a second dose?
Almost all children will only need one dose of the vaccine.
However, if your child is under 9 years old they'll need a second dose (4 weeks after the first) if they:
- have a health condition and this was their first time getting the flu vaccine - this will make sure their immunity has fully built up
- were given the injectable vaccine and this was their first time getting the flu vaccine - even if they don't have a health condition
Please phone your local NHS Board using the number on the letter that was sent to you to find out about local arrangements.
Will my child be protected for life when they've had this vaccine?
No, your child will need to get the flu vaccine every year. Flu viruses are constantly changing and a different vaccine has to be made every year to ensure the best protection against flu. This is why the flu vaccine is offered every year during autumn/winter.