Scotland’s Chief Medical Officer recommends you have the free flu vaccine this year if you:
- are aged 65 or over (by 31 March 2021)
- have an eligible health condition
- live in the same home as people previously shielding from coronavirus
- are an unpaid or young carer
With coronavirus around it's more important than ever to get the flu vaccine.
Getting the vaccine is the safest and most effective way to help protect yourself against flu and it's also one of the most important reasons for leaving your home.
If you are aged 65 or over, or have an eligible health condition, the risk of getting seriously ill with the flu virus is greater than the risk of going to get your vaccine.
During vaccination, strict infection prevention and control measures will be in place.
Why get the vaccine
Every year in Scotland, around two-thirds of people who get severe flu and need intensive care treatment have a health condition such as diabetes, chronic lung or heart disease.
Adults with a health condition are more at risk of flu-related complications and need extra protection. Even if you feel healthy or that your health condition is mild or well-managed.
Who's eligible for the flu vaccine
People with certain health conditions are at greater risk from flu. Conditions and diseases which can make flu more dangerous include:
Chronic respiratory disease (aged six months or older):
- Asthma that requires continuous or repeated use of inhaled or systemic steroids or with previous exacerbations requiring hospital admission.
- Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) including chronic bronchitis and emphysema; bronchiectasis, cystic fibrosis, interstitial lung fibrosis, pneumoconiosis and bronchopulmonary dysplasia (BPD)
- Children who have previously been admitted to hospital for lower respiratory tract disease.
Chronic heart disease (aged six months or older):
- Congenital heart disease, hypertension with cardiac complications, chronic heart failure, individuals requiring regular medication and/or follow-up for ischaemic heart disease.
Chronic kidney disease (aged six months or older):
- Chronic kidney disease at stage 3, 4 or 5, chronic kidney failure, nephritic syndrome, kidney transplantation.
Chronic liver disease (aged six months or older):
- Cirrhosis, biliary atresia, chronic hepatitis from any cause such as Hepatitis B and C infections and other non-infective causes
Chronic neurological disease (aged six months or older):
- Stroke, transient ischaemic attack (TIA).
- Conditions in which respiratory function may be compromised, due to neurological disease (e.g. polio syndrome sufferers).
- Clinicians should offer immunisation, based on individual assessment, to clinically vulnerable individuals including those with cerebral palsy, learning disabilities, multiple sclerosis and related or similar conditions; or hereditary and degenerative disease of the nervous system or muscles; or severe neurological or severe learning disability.
Diabetes (aged six months or older):
- Type 1 diabetes, type 2 diabetes requiring insulin or oral hypoglycaemic drugs, diet controlled diabetes.
Immunosuppression (aged six months or older):
- Immunosuppression due to disease or treatment, including patients undergoing chemotherapy leading to immunosuppression, bone marrow transplant. HIV infection at all stages, multiple myeloma or genetic disorders affecting the immune system (eg IRAK-4, NEMO, complement disorder). Individuals 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 (any age) or for children under 20kg a dose of 1mg or more per kg per day.
Asplenia or dysfunction of the spleen
- This also includes conditions such as homozygous sickle cell disease and coeliac syndrome that may lead to splenic dysfunction.
Morbid obesity (class III obesity)
- Adults with a Body Mass Index ≥ 40 kg/m²
Anyone undergoing chemotherapy treatment or on medication that reduces their immunity is at higher risk and should get immunised.
If you’re under 18 years and have a health condition (or care for someone who does) you should also get the vaccine. You may be eligible to have the vaccine as a nasal (nose) spray. For more information visit the child flu page.
Unpaid carers and young carers are also eligible for the free flu vaccine.
Find out how to get the flu vaccine in your health board area.