Frequently Asked Questions

This document is also available in large print and other formats and languages, upon request. Please call NHS Grampian Corporate Communications on (01224) 551116 or (01224) 552245.

Who should be vaccinated?

Visit our eligible groups section to find out who should be vaccinated.

When am I at most risk of catching influenza?
Flu circulates every winter, generally peaking in December and January. It is impossible to predict how many cases of flu there will be each year, how ill people will be or when the number of cases will peak.
Does the vaccine protect against all strains of influenza?
No but every effort is made to match the flu vaccine to those strains expected to be circulating in the UK.
When will it start to be effective and how long will it work for?
The flu vaccine takes between 10 and 14 days to be fully effective. The vaccine should protect you for this flu season but, because the circulating flu viruses change, you should be vaccinated every year.
When should I get vaccinated?
The best time to be vaccinated in the autumn from the beginning of October through to the end of November. However, if you miss being vaccinated then, you can still receive it up to the end of March. Better to be vaccinated rather than assume it is too late.
I caught flu after I had flu vaccine so I’m not getting it again?
No you did not. It is IMPOSSIBLE to catch flu from the flu vaccine. As it can take up to 14 days for the vaccine to become effective it is much more likely that you were incubating an infection around the same time.
What are the side effects of getting the flu vaccine?
Most people will have no side effects, but if you do these can include slight raised temperature, muscle aches or a sore arm where the needle went in. Tips to help include moving your arm regularly.
I have an egg allergy, should I still be vaccinated?
Unless you have an anaphylactic allergy to eggs or to a previous dose of flu vaccine you should be vaccinated. There are vaccines available that are egg free.
I’ve heard the flu vaccine is not particularly safe.
The flu vaccine is one of the safest in the world. It is safely administered to millions of people every year. The risk of having a severe reaction to the vaccine is less than one in a million.
I think I might be pregnant so I don’t think I should be vaccinated.
It is important that all pregnant women get vaccinated. Pregnant women are one of the groups of the population who can have quite serious complications if they catch flu. The vaccine is safe to give at all stages of pregnancy.
I am breastfeeding, can I still be vaccinated?
Yes. The vaccine poses no risk to you or your baby.
I am on antibiotics can I still be vaccinated?
Yes. Being on antibiotics is not a reason to withhold vaccination. However, if you are clinically unwell you should hold off being vaccinated until you feel better.
I have a latex allergy, can I still be vaccinated?
The Seqirus vaccines (Flucelvax Tetra QIVc and aTIV) all contain latex in the needle shield. Although the risk appears low, these vaccines should not be used in a patient with a history of anaphylaxis or severe reaction to latex. QIVc is currently being used in adults who have an underlying medical condition (licenced from 9 years up) and aTIV is currently being used in patients aged 65 years plus cohorts.

About this year’s flu vaccination programme

How long does the flu vaccination programme run for?

The flu vaccination programme runs from early October through to March next year.
Due to the increase in demand and increase in number of groups eligible for the free flu vaccination, appointments are being allocated in a phased approach over the coming months.

When might I expect my letter inviting me to make my flu vaccination appointment?

Letters are being sent out in batches daily to priority eligible groups until December starting from mid-September.

What does NHS Scotland define as an eligible health condition?

Please visit NHS Inform for the latest guidance.

Why is my GP not delivering my vaccination this year, I never had a problem getting an appointment in the past!

In 2017, the Scottish Government and the Scottish General Practitioners Committee (SGPC) agreed vaccinations would move away from a model based on GP delivery to one based on NHS Board delivery through dedicated teams.

Making your flu appointment

About your flu jab appointment
I have not received my letter, but I always get my flu vaccination?

You should receive an appointment letter in the next few weeks.  Appointment letters are being issued daily in batches to eligible groups.  The letter will tell you the date, time and location of your appointment.  There will be information in the letter to help you rearrange your appointment if it is not suitable.

My friend has been allocated an appointment before me?

Appointments are allocated based on several factors including clinical need, geographical location, and daily capacity.

What should I do when I receive the letter and can't attend my appointment or my appointment is letter is late?
Please follow the contact details information in the letter and if emailing, please only do so once and we will get back to you to reschedule your appointment.
I have not received my letter, but I always get my flu vaccination?
You should receive an appointment letter in the next few weeks.  Appointment letters are being issued daily in batches to eligible groups.  The letter will tell you the date, time and location of your appointment.  There will be information in the letter to help you rearrange your appointment if it is not suitable.
The flu helpline number keeps ringing out, what should I do?
As widely reported, the response to the first phase of the flu vaccination process overwhelmed our established systems and we apologise for any distress or anxiety caused.
Please only contact us if you have received an appointment letter and, if you can, please email us. If you do not have access to email and cannot get through on the phone line, please be patient with us and try again later at a less busy time; there are enough appointments and vaccine to go round.
Will the main NHS Grampian switchboard be able to direct my call to the booking number or make my flu vaccination appointment?
No. Please phone or email the contact details in your letter. Do not call the main NHS Grampian switchboard as they will not be able to make an appointment for you and you may also prevent other urgent calls being able to get through.
Should I contact my local GP practice for my appointment, like last year?
No, In Grampian you will no longer get your free vaccination from your local GP but will be invited to attend a local vaccination clinic.
Should I make an appointment to get my primary school age child vaccinated?
No, as in previous years, local health teams will visit primary schools to offer the vaccination to all primary school aged children.

Planning for your vaccination

Having your flu vaccination
I’ve got an appointment but it’s weeks away. Don’t I need this jab now?
The vaccination period runs up until the end of March. We have prioritised appointments by clinical need, based on national guidance. There is still time to ensure that those that are eligible are vaccinated before the flu circulation period.
Where will my appointment be?
The location will vary depending on your individual circumstances and location. Locations will normally be in a community setting such as a church hall or school near to your home.
Can I just turn up at a flu vaccination clinic to get my flu jab?
All flu vaccination is by appointment only so please don’t turn up unless you have an appointment.
I have mobility issues; will I be able to access the clinic?
All flu vaccination clinics are accessible to those with mobility issues. If you are housebound and cannot travel we can arrange for your vaccination to be done at home. Details will be provided in your appointment letter.
Will it be safe to go to a flu vaccination clinic?
Yes. During vaccination, strict infection prevention and control measures will be in place, with enhanced cleaning of venues, strict social distancing, hand cleaning stations and staff will be wearing appropriate PPE. To find out more, please watch our video on what to expect when you visit a flu vaccination clinic.
Should I wear a face covering?
Yes – please wear a face covering while travelling to and from and during your appointment unless you are exempt.
How should I travel to my appointment – under increased restrictions?
The Scottish Government have acknowledged that attending your flu vaccination appointment is deemed as essential travel. If you can drive yourself by car, you should consider this in the first instance, but if this option is not available to you then please use public transport.
Should I car share to get to my appointment?

The Scottish Government are advising against car sharing with people outside your own household – unless there is no alternative. If there is no alternative to car sharing with members of another household then everyone in the car should follow the advice from Transport Scotland:

  • keep your distance and take care entering and exiting the vehicle
  • sit as far apart as possible in the vehicle, avoiding face-to-face
  • maintain good ventilation by keeping the car windows open
  • wear a face-covering, unless you are exempt
  • clean your hands before and after your journey
  • clean the door handles and other areas that people touch.
If I am not feeling well or have any of the COVID-19 symptoms what should I do?

If you have a temperature, persistent cough or loss of taste and smell before your vaccination, please contact us to reschedule your appointment.

When should I arrive for my appointment?

Please arrive on time for your appointment and not too early. Due to physical distancing requirements we are limited to how many people are allowed into buildings, so if you arrive too earlier for your appointment you may be asked to queue outside.

What should I wear to my appointment?

Please dress for the weather as you may be required to wait outside for a short period before you can enter the venue. If you can, wear loose-sleeved or short sleeved clothing under your outer wear that will help the vaccinators administer the vaccine more efficiently.

Can I bring someone with me to my appointment?

Wherever possible, please attend on your own, unless you require assistance.

Where will my vaccination appointment be?

NHS Grampian has taken steps to make our vaccination clinics and hubs as accessible as possible, with over 65’s offered an appointment at their nearest flu vaccination clinic.

Is there car parking available at clinic locations?

The vaccination clinics are being held at a range of community venues across Grampian. Car parking will be available near or at the location. Please check in advance when your appointment is allocated for local parking capacity and arrangements.


Please contact the NHS Grampian flu helpline by:

Phone - 0345 337 9899

Contact Centre opening hours are:
9.00-5.00 Monday to Friday

Watch our Videos

You can find out more by watching ...

Our flu information videos.

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