Who can get a Covid booster vaccine in Scotland? Everything to know about the booster jab - and how do I get one?
Booster vaccinations and vaccine passports are among the Covid measures ramping up in Scotland, but who can get a booster jag in Scotland?
With Scotland recording its highest weekly coronavirus death count in seven months last week (beginning Monday 20 September), there are plenty of signs that the pandemic is far from over.
91.5% of over 16-year-olds in Scotland have now received their first dose of a Covid vaccine and almost 85% have received their second dose as of Monday 4 October.
But with the Delta variant still driving Covid-19 transmission among the UK population and around the world, booster vaccinations have emerged as an important way to deliver extra protection for those particularly vulnerable to catching coronavirus.
Here’s what you need to know about the Covid booster vaccine, who’s eligible for it and how to get the extra jag.
What is the Covid booster vaccine?
Announced in mid September, the coronavirus booster vaccine programme in Scotland seeks to deliver added protection for citizens who might have experienced reduced immunity to Covid-19 and its dominant Delta variant strain.
But it is also being rolled out to reduce the strain of the ‘pingdemic’ on the availability and safety of staff in frontline industries such as healthcare.
Scotland’s booster programme officially began on 21 September, with the First Minister Nicola Sturgeon stating that the decision to offer extra vaccine doses to some members of the population came following advice from the UK’s Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation (JCVI).
The JCVI said that the supply of booster doses were vital in keeping more vulnerable people in society safer and protected from coronavirus before the winter sets in.
Ms Sturgeon told MSPs: “The booster programme is intended to prolong the protection that vaccines provide against severe COVID illness.
“It will run alongside our biggest ever flu vaccine programme – since both of these programmes are important for individual and public health.
"Wherever possible, eligible people will be offered COVID and flu vaccines together.”
What type of vaccine is the Covid booster jag?
If you are eligible for a booster vaccine, you will most likely receive either a Pfizer/BioNTech or Moderna vaccine.
AstraZeneca will only be offered as a booster for those who cannot have Pfizer or Moderna jabs for medical reasons.
You can receive a booster dose from at least six months after you received your second Covid jab and itbooster dose can be offered any time at least 6 months after your second dose and will help reduce the risk of you needing to go to hospital due to coronavirus this winter.
If you're eligible, your flu and coronavirus booster vaccines will be given at the same time, one in each arm.
Who can get a Covid booster vaccine in Scotland?
The Covid booster vaccine is being offered predominantly to those over the age of 50 in Scotland, with elderly citizens at an enhanced risk of catching Covid alongside more common illnesses like the flue this winter.
But booster vaccine doses in Scotland are being offered to the following groups:
- those living in residential care homes for older adults
- frontline health and social care workers
- all adults aged 50 years or over
- adults aged 16 to 49 years with underlying health conditions that mean they are at risk of developing severe or long covid
- adult carers (aged 16 or over)
- household contacts (aged 16 or over) of immunosuppressed individuals
How do I get my Covid booster jag?
Those over the age of 70 or deemed particularly vulnerable to Covid-19 will be invited to receive a Covid booster vaccine by letter or being contacted by their GP.
Health workers and frontline social care staff are able to book their Covid booster jag online on the NHS Inform website.
Care home residents will receive a covid and flu booster vaccine at the same time in their care homes, with any staff unable to get a booster vaccination on site able to book a slot for their online through NHS Inform.
People who are aged 50 and over, a carer or over the age of 16 and living with someone who is immunosuppressed will be able to book an appointment for their coronavirus booster and flu jab soon, according to NHS Inform.
This will take place through NHS Inform’s online portal, with anyone who doesn’t book online due to receive an invitation by post.
To find out more about who can receive a Covid booster vaccine and how to get one, go to https://www.nhsinform.scot/covid-19-vaccine/the-vaccines/coronavirus-covid-19-booster-vaccination.