Information for people over 65 or those with health conditions

Scotland’s Chief Medical Officer recommends you have the free flu vaccine every year if you:

  • have a health condition (no matter what age you are and how fit and healthy you feel)
  • are aged 65 or over.

Four reasons to get the vaccine:

  1. Every year in Scotland, around two thirds of people who get severe flu and need intensive care treatment have a health condition such as chronic lung or heart disease.
  2. Adults with a health condition are more at risk of flu-related complications and need extra protection. Even if you’re young, fit and healthy, and your condition is normally under control.
  3. If you’re aged 65 or over you should also get extra protection.
  4. It’s the safest and most effective way to help protect yourself against flu.

Who should have the flu vaccine?

 Anyone with a health condition is at greater risk from flu. Conditions and diseases which can make flu more dangerous include:

  • Asthma
  • Multiple sclerosis
  • Bronchitis
  • Liver problems such as cirrhosis/hepatitis
  • Emphysema
  • Diabetes
  • Cystic fibrosis
  • Asplenia or dysfunction of the spleen
  • Chronic heart  disease
  • Being very overweight
  • Chronic kidney failure
  • HIV infection

If you have any of the conditions above, speak to your GP or practice nurse to find out if you should have the flu vaccine. Anyone undergoing chemotherapy treatment or anyone who is on medication that reduces their immunity, should get immunised.

If you’re under 18 years, 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:

Anyone aged 65 or over is eligible for the flu vaccine.

If you provide care for someone, you may also be eligible for the flu vaccine. Speak to your GP or practice nurse for more information.

Where can I get the flu vaccine? 

Contact your GP practice to make an appointment. It only takes a few minutes to get immunised and could help to keep you well over the winter.

The flu vaccine is available from October to March. The earlier you get it, the less likely it is that you will get flu.

Last reviewed on 02 November 2017

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