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Covid vaccinations

It’s important that as many people as possible have the vaccine, particularly if they’re at higher risk from Covid. Around 93% of people at highest risk in Scotland have already had both vaccine doses, reducing their risk of becoming severely ill from Covid. If you have not yet done so, you can be vaccinated quickly and easily.

It’s also important that everyone gets their second dose of the vaccine. Second doses will be given 8 weeks after the first dose.

Covid boosters and third vaccination doses

If you’re on the highest risk list or are severely immunosuppressed your health board will soon invite you for either:

  • a Covid booster (for most people on the highest risk list)
  • or a third primary dose of the Covid vaccination (for severely immunosuppressed people only)

They’ll contact you by phone or letter and tell you which one they’ll give you. You do not need to contact anyone yourself to arrange this. 

Covid booster vaccinations

Health boards are inviting most people aged 16 or over who are on the highest risk list for a booster. You should get your booster at least 6 months after your second vaccination dose.

Where possible you’ll get your flu vaccination at the same time as your booster. This means you may only need to go to one vaccination appointment.

You can find out more about Covid booster vaccinations on NHS inform.

Third Covid vaccination doses

Health boards will invite severely immunosuppressed people for a third primary vaccination dose. This includes severely immunosuppressed people who are not on the highest risk list.

They’ll invite you for a third dose if :

  • you were severely immunosuppressed at the time when you had your first or second dose
  • and you're aged 12 or over

Third doses are separate from boosters. If you’ve been invited for a third vaccination dose, you will not be invited for a booster at this time. The Joint Committee on Vaccinations and Immunisation (JCVI) will review whether severely immunosuppressed people need a further booster dose after finishing their 3-dose primary vaccination course.

You’ll be asked to get your flu vaccination separately from your third dose.

Why health boards are offering third doses to some people

Health boards are offering third doses to some people because the Joint Committee on Vaccinations and Immunisation (JCVI) has advised it. This advice is based on the current evidence.

Recent data suggests around 2 in every 5 severely immunosuppressed people may not have a full immune response to 2 doses of the vaccine. This means some immunosuppressed people may not be as well protected as the wider population after 2 doses. Findings from several studies suggest that a third dose of the vaccine may increase protection for these people.

You can read more about the JCVI advice on GOV.UK.

If you cannot leave home or need help getting to your vaccination

Phone the Scottish Covid Vaccination Helpline on 0800 030 8013 (8am to 8pm). They can help you if you:

  • cannot leave your home and need to arrange to have your vaccination at home
  • need help getting to and back from your vaccination

Vaccinations for children and young people

All young people 16 to 17 years of age will be offered the Covid vaccination in Scotland. In line with the latest advice from the Joint Committee on Vaccinations and Immunisation (JCVI), they will be offered the Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine.

Children aged 12 to 15 can be vaccinated if they have:

  • severe neurodisabilities
  • Down’s syndrome
  • immunosuppression
  • a diagnosis of learning/intellectual disability

Children and young people aged 12 to 15 who live with, or spend a large amount of time with, an immunosuppressed person can also be vaccinated. The NHS will write to people who are eligible with an invitation to get their vaccination.

Why we're offering vaccinations to some children and young people

These recommendations are based on evidence that these groups can particularly benefit from the protection of the vaccine. This is especially the case for children and young people who are in contact with immunosuppressed adults.

Generally, the risk of severe illness from Covid for children and young people - even those who have complex health needs - is very low. Recent studies show that the clinical risks of Covid are far outweighed by the harm that children have felt due to loneliness, being apart from family and friends, and missing out on nursery, school and college.

Vaccination drop-in clinics

You and anyone over the age of 16 who lives with you can be vaccinated at a drop-in clinic. You do not need an appointment and can go at a time that suits you.

Find your nearest drop-in clinic on the NHS inform website.

Checking and booking vaccination appointments

Anyone can check if they have an appointment scheduled for their first or second vaccine dose on the NHS Scotland website.

If you do not already have an appointment and would like to book one rather than going to a drop-in clinic, phone the Scottish Covid Vaccination Helpline on 0800 030 8013 (8am to 8pm).

If you cannot get the vaccination

Due to some health conditions, some people cannot receive the vaccination, or may not fully benefit from being vaccinated. If you’re unsure, you should speak with your clinician. Children and young people under 16 will only be vaccinated under exceptional circumstances, after an individual risk assessment with their clinicians.

If you cannot get the vaccination, over-16s who live with you can help reduce their risk of passing Covid to you by:

  • getting vaccinated as soon as they can
  • taking lateral flow tests twice a week to check they have not caught Covid

Why vaccinations are important for adults who live with you

Vaccinating over-16s who live with you is an additional level of protection to help reduce the risk of Covid being passed to you.

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