Flu and Covid Vaccination Programme – autumn/winter 2023

Autumn/winter vaccination programme update - get vaccinated ahead of the festive period  - 29/11/23

The autumn/winter vaccination programme has been running since early September and will continue into December.

So far, just over 60% of people in Shetland who are eligible for a Covid vaccine booster have been vaccinated, and nearly 55% of adults and 65% of children have had their flu vaccine, meaning nearly 10,000 people have had one or both vaccines.

Everyone in Shetland who is eligible for vaccination for a clinical reason should have now been offered an appointment or the opportunity to book an appointment. Some people have had phone calls or letters with an appointment time, and others have had a letter, email, or text message informing them of how to book an appointment. Some groups, such as unpaid carers and health and social care staff, will not have received a personal invitation, but regular information has been released regarding how to get vaccinated.

Anyone who has not yet received an appointment can use the booking portal at https://www.nhsinform.scot/winter-vaccines/ to book one at the Grantfield Vaccination Centre in Lerwick or can contact the vaccination team on 01595 743319 or shet.vaccination-team@nhs.scot

There will also be walk-in clinics during December. The first one takes place on Saturday 2 December from 9.30am-4.30pm at Grantfield in Lerwick. This is in the Toll Clock car park, behind Bolts Garage. The entrance is clearly signposted via the side door, not the SIC reception entrance. More walk-in clinics over the coming weeks will be advertised on the NHS Shetland website Vaccinations – NHS Shetland and on the NHS Shetland Facebook page.

Elaine Maguire, Vaccination Programme Team Leader, said: “If you think you are eligible for a flu and/or Covid vaccination and have not been invited or been able to make an appointment, please contact the vaccination team as above. You can also check if you are in a group that is eligible for the flu and/or Covid vaccine on the NHS Shetland website or the NHS Inform website. You can also attend a walk-in clinic to check if you are eligible and get your vaccines. Health and social care staff and school staff eligible for the flu vaccine should bring their staff ID.

“People who live on Unst, Yell or Whalsay or are registered with Hillswick can contact their own GP practice. Other people who have not had their vaccines yet and who live on the non-doctor islands, or who are unable to travel to any clinic, should contact us so that we can make suitable arrangements. The vaccination team is working with practice and community nursing teams to ensure that everyone eligible for winter vaccinations can get them.”

Dr Susan Laidlaw, Director of Public Health, said: “Although we have good uptake rates so far for the Covid and flu vaccines, amongst the highest in Scotland, there are still around 6,000 people who are eligible for flu and /or Covid vaccination who have not yet been vaccinated or booked an appointment. The vaccines do provide very good protection against severe illness and hospitalisation due to flu and Covid infections. To get the most benefit, please get your vaccinations before the Christmas holidays.

“Older people, those with underlying conditions (particularly a weakened immune system), and pregnant women are particularly at risk from serious illness, and I strongly encourage anyone in those groups to come forward for vaccination. If you are unsure about the vaccines, then please look at the information on NHS Inform, contact the vaccination team or another health professional such as your midwife, or attend a walk-in clinic to discuss further.

“It is also really important for health and social care workers and unpaid carers to get vaccinated to protect both themselves and this in turn also helps to reduce the spread of infection to the vulnerable people they care for.” 

Groups eligible for flu and Coronavirus vaccination are:

  • residents and staff in care homes for older adults
  • people aged 65 and over
  • people aged 6 months and over with a condition that places them at higher risk
  • pregnant women
  • frontline healthcare workers (including independent contractors and support staff who are patient facing in GP, dental, optometry and community pharmacy)
  • frontline social care workers
  • carers (including unpaid and young carers aged 16 and over)
  • people aged 12 or over who live with someone with a weakened immune system

Groups eligible for flu vaccination are:

  • children aged 6 months to 2 years at higher risk of flu
  • children aged 2 to 5 (and not yet in school) on 1 September 2023
  • all primary school pupils
  • all secondary school pupils
  • people aged 18 to 64 with an eligible condition
  • people aged 50 and over
  • nursery, primary and secondary school teachers and pupil-facing support staff
  • prison population, prison officers and support staff who deliver direct front-facing detention services
  • non-frontline NHS healthcare workers (including all independent contractors and support staff in GP, dental, optometry and community pharmacy)



Vaccination programme update - 31/10/2023

We are now over half way through the Covid and flu vaccination programme and continue to have a good uptake of people opting to have both vaccines. Please see below for more information on how to get an appointment if you have received an invite letter or know you are eligible but have not had a letter. 

The main clinics are now being held at Grantfield which is in Lerwick, in the Toll Clock car park behind Bolts garage. It is not at the dental clinic on North Road - please note that the map on the booking portal has been updated.  Please use the side door, not the main entrance - it is clearly signposted. 

There is an issue with the national booking system which means that if you only get one vaccine at your scheduled appointment and then need to make another appointment, the booking portal may not let you. If you have difficulty with making an appointment, please contact the vaccination team on 01595 743319 or shet.vaccination-team@nhs.scot 

There are other clinics at some of the rural health centres for people registered there - further details are on the NHS Shetland website.

Also, please note, as well that the main shingles vaccination programme for 2023-24 will be starting in January.



Grantfield vaccination clinic update - 18/10/2023

Flu and Covid vaccination clinics are now being held at Grantfield (the SIC building behind Bolts garage which shares a car park with the Toll Clock Shopping Centre). If you have an appointment at the Grantfield vaccination clinic, please use the door at the left-hand side of the building that is signposted.  Please do not use the main entrance.

Please try to attend at your appointment time as the clinic is very busy. If you are too early you may be asked to leave and come back later. 

Some of the clinics have been running late due to current staff shortages but we are aiming to see everyone who is booked, rather than cancelling and rearranging if this can be avoided. 
Thank you very much to everyone attending for their patience.

For more information about the clinic and the vaccination programme, including eligibility; and booking/changing appointments, see below.


Vaccination Programme update 27/9/23

For further information on the autumn /winter flu and Covid vaccination programme, including which groups are eligible for vaccination; patient information leaflets and a link to the online booking portal, please see NHS Inform.  Winter vaccines | NHS inform

For further information on local delivery of the programme in Shetland, please see below.

People aged 65 – 74 and those aged under 50 in at risk groups

As we move through the autumn/winter vaccination programme, people aged 65-74 and people under 65 who are in risk groups are now being invited to make appointments for their flu and Covid vaccinations. Please note that ‘at risk ‘ groups include unpaid carers and people who live in a household with someone who has a weakened immune system.

Those registered at the following GP practices will be receiving NHS Scotland letters inviting them to make an appointment (or emails / texts if already signed up for that service).

  • Bixter (under 65 at risk groups only)
  • Walls (under 65 at risk groups only)
  • Brae (aged 65-74 and the under 65 at risk groups)  
  • Lerwick (aged 65-74 and the under 65 at risk groups)  
  • Levenwick (aged 65-74 and the under 65 at risk groups)  
  • Scalloway (aged 65-74 and the under 65 at risk groups)  

We are encouraging people to make their appointments using the national booking portal, as advised in the letter.  If individuals cannot use this system, or cannot get to the appointments available, then the vaccination team can be contacted as previously (see below).

These appointments will be from mid-October at a new venue in Lerwick -  'Grantfield' -the SIC building behind Bolts garage that shares a car park with the Toll Clock Shopping Centre. There will be clear signage to the entrance of the clinic before the first appointments in mid-October.

As well as appointments in the daytime Monday to Saturday, there are also evening appointment slots on Tuesdays and Thursdays. Later on in the programme, we may be able to run ‘walk in’ sessions as previously.

The address is : Grantfield, North Road, Lerwick, Shetland ZE1 0NT. There is ample parking space, including disabled parking directly outside the building. There is a bus stop outside Bolts Minimarket, just a few minutes walk away. Please note that the nearest public toilets are in the Toll Clock Shopping Centre.


People registered at the following GP practices will receive a phone call or letter about making an appointment at their health centre. But they can choose to book at the Grantfield Clinic, using the booking portal or through the vaccination team, if they prefer.

  • Bixter (aged 65-74)
  • Walls (aged 65-74)
  • Hillswick
  • Unst
  • Whalsay
  • Yell

People who live on the ‘non-doctor’ islands will be advised when the Vaccination Team is visiting their island to run a clinic.

Frontline health and social care workers who have not yet received their vaccinations can also make an appointment at the Grantfield Clinic using the booking portal.

To contact the Vaccination Team please call 01595 743319 or email shet.vaccination-team@nhs.scot.


People aged 75 and over and those with weakened immune systems

Most of the people in these groups will have given an appointment by now or will be called in the next week. If you are in one of these groups and have not been contacted by Wednesday 4 October, and you would like the vaccinations, please contact the Vaccination Team. 

Clinics for these groups are taking place in local health centres, Out Patient Department at the Gilbert Bain Hospital, the Staff Development Department at Montfield (same entrance as Patient Travel, near the Dental Department building)  and in community settings at Sandwick and Dunrossness.


Flu Vaccination for Children

Flu vaccination for children aged two years and over who are not yet in school and school pupils who cannot have the Fluenz nasal spray vaccine will be delivered in local health centres. Please contact the child’s GP practice for an appointment.

Some of the School Programme clinics have been re-arranged because of the strikes. Please contact the School Health Team on 01595 743076 with queries about the Schools Programme.


Flu vaccination for adults   

Adults aged 50-64 who are only eligible for flu vaccine will be invited soon to make an appointment, there will be more details to follow.

Teachers and other pupil facing staff in schools may be offered their vaccination when the school clinics are held in their school. Or they can make an appointment using the online booking portal for the Grantfield Clinic. There will also be opportunities for those in the more remote areas to attend their local health centre.


Frontline Health and Social Care Staff

Occupational Health is still running clinics in various workplace settings as well as the Occupational Health Department. Staff can also book for an appointment at Grantfield Clinic using the Booking Portal. All NHS Staff are eligible for the flu vaccine




Flu and Covid Vaccination Programme – autumn/winter 2023 

The national autumn/winter vaccination programme for flu and Covid is now underway in Shetland, with the main programme running until mid-December.  

Due to the newly identified Covid variant, BA.2.86, people aged 75 and over, those who have weakened immune systems and those who live in care homes will now be amongst the first to be invited for flu and Covid vaccination. These groups of people were initially due to receive their vaccinations from mid-October, but as a precautionary measure, those at the highest risk of becoming seriously ill from flu and Covid have now been brought forward. 

School flu clinics have also started and will shortly be followed by flu clinics for pre-school children. Health and social care workers are also being offered their flu and Covid vaccinations. The community will be informed when other groups start to be called. 

People in Shetland who are eligible for flu and/or Covid vaccinations may be contacted by letter or via telephone or potentially, text or email if they have opted in for this service. Later in the programme, people will be able to use the booking portal to book and change appointments. There is also an option to phone the national helpline or the local vaccination team.  

Because there is no longer a vaccination centre at Gilbertson Park Games Hall, clinics will run in a variety of health care settings along with schools and care homes.   

  • Individuals who cannot travel to a clinic will be given their vaccinations at home.  
  • People living on Unst, Yell and Whalsay, and those registered with the Hillswick, Walls and Bixter practices will be invited to attend clinics at their own health centre.  
  • People registered with Brae, Scalloway and Levenwick may be invited to their health centre or to a Lerwick clinic.  
  • Lerwick residents will be invited to a Lerwick clinic.  
  • Some individuals may be asked to come to clinics at the Gilbert Bain Hospital. 

As in previous years, walk-in appointments will be available in some clinics for those who are eligible for the vaccinations, these will be publicised later in the programme.  

Dr Susan Laidlaw, Director of Public Health said: “Covid and flu vaccination is just as important now as it was during the pandemic as the vaccines help protect the most vulnerable people from serious illness, which can lead to hospital admission and result in long term problems.  

“Many people who are at risk of serious illness due to flu are used to having a flu vaccine every year so they can be protected against the different flu strains that circulate each winter. With the Covid vaccines, we know that the protection declines over time, especially in older people and those with weakened immune systems. This is why booster doses are being offered to people who are most at risk of serious illness. 

“When you receive or make an appointment, please make sure you know where the venue is, as it may be different from previous years. Information about the vaccines, including patient information leaflets in a range of formats and languages, is available on the NHS Inform website - Winter vaccines leaflets | NHS inform 

We also have printed copies of leaflets available in a number of settings, or they can be sent out on request by contacting the vaccination team on shet.vaccination-team@nhs.scot ”  

The people eligible for both flu and COVID-19 vaccines this winter include: 

  • Frontline health and social care workers  
  • Residents and staff in care homes for older adults  
  • People aged 65 and over 
  • People aged six months to 64 years of age who are at higher clinical risk from flu and Covid -19  
  • Pregnant women  
  • Unpaid carers aged 16-64  
  • Household contacts of those with a weakened immune system (aged 12-64) 

The people eligible for just flu vaccine (if not in one of the above groups) include: 

  • People aged 50 years and over 
  • Children aged 2-5, and those in primary and secondary school 
  • People aged 18-49 with an eligible flu health condition 
  • Teachers and support staff (‘pupil facing’) 

For more information, contact the vaccination team via telephone on 01595 743319 (leave a message) or by email at shet.vaccination-team@nhs.scot 

Further advice is also available on the NHS Inform website -  https://www.nhsinform.scot/winter-vaccines/