An Update on Vaccinations

Date: 23rd November 2021

Earlier this month we sent an update to all our members to give them an update on the vaccination programme in Scotland in relation to the COVID booster dose, the winter flu vaccination and the extension of the programme to include 12–15-year-olds. In case you missed it or didn’t receive this communication here is that update for your information.

The following link takes you to the NHS Inform pages on the COVID-19 booster vaccination and it contains a helpful interactive guide that outlines how you will be invited for your flu and/or COVID-19 booster dose and how you will receive notification if you are eligible. The guide starts by asking you to identify what category you are in (e.g. age category or whether you are clinically extremely vulnerable) and it then takes you to a new page that tells you when and how you can expect to receive the booster dose and/or the flu vaccination if you are eligible.

Click HERE to go to the NHS Inform page about the COVID-19 booster vaccine.

Our current understanding of the position, as it affects our community, is as follows:

  • All adults over 50 are eligible for the booster dose of the COVID-19 vaccine (for us, this will include some parents, some unpaid carers and some adults with Down’s syndrome).
  • Adults aged 16-49 years with an underlying health condition that puts them at higher risk (as Down’s syndrome is listed as an underlying health condition, this means all individuals with Down’s syndrome, 16 and over) are eligible for the COVID-19 booster dose.
  • Adult carers including unpaid carers and young carers (16+) are eligible to receive the COVID-19 booster vaccination.
  • 12-15-year-olds are now being offered the COVID-19 vaccination. For 12-15-year-olds with an underlying health condition that puts them at higher risk (and this includes Down’s syndrome) both doses of the COVID-19 vaccine will be offered (eight weeks apart). In addition, 12-15-year-olds living with someone who is immunosuppressed will also be offered both doses of the vaccine. We are currently engaged with the Chief Medical Officer, Public Health Scotland and the Scottish Government to clarify and confirm that 12-15-year-olds who are living with someone who has an underlying health condition (remember, Down’s syndrome is identified as an underlying health condition) should also receive both doses of the COVID-19 vaccine (for our community, this would include 12-15-year-old siblings of a sister or brother with Down’s syndrome.) All other 12-15-year-olds will only be offered one dose of the COVID-19 vaccine at this time.
  • 5-12-year-olds with Down’s syndrome are not currently included in the UK programme of vaccination. We are pressing the Scottish Government and Public Health Scotland to make an early decision about 5-12-year-olds and we have made them aware of the safety data now published by Pfizer and we have drawn their attention to the advice of the USA Down’s Syndrome Medical Interest Group that 5-12-year-olds with Down’s syndrome should be vaccinated. We are aware that this affects a number of our families who, in a number of instances, continue to experience substantial disruption as they continue to isolate and shield due to additional health conditions. The decision on whether to extend the vaccination programme to 5-12-year-olds will come initially from the JCVI, as a recommendation to the Chief Medical Officers in the UK.
  • The winter flu vaccination programme is underway in Scotland. The following groups are eligible for the current flu vaccination programme:
    • All adults over 50 years of age (including those who will be 50 by 31 March 2022).
    • Unpaid and young carers.
    • Children aged 2-5 and not yet in school.
    • All primary school children.
    • All secondary school pupils.

The following link takes you to the NHS Inform pages which provide information on the flu vaccine. The page also includes a link to the guide which will outline when and how you will be invited for your flu vaccination. Where possible and appropriate, the flu vaccine will be given at the same time as people attending to receive their COVID-19 booster dose or their initial COVID-19 vaccination (one in each arm).

Click HERE to go to the NHS Inform pages about the flu vaccine.

We will come back to you as quickly as we can to confirm the position regarding 12-15-year-old siblings being eligible for both doses of the COVID-19 vaccine and likewise for children with Down’s syndrome aged 5-12 years, as soon as we hear that the JCVI has made a decision.

Please feel free to contact us at any time on 0300 030 2121 and a member of our Family Support Team will be in touch.

I think we all understand the importance of ensuring we all have the greatest protections as we head into the winter months. Our community is particularly vulnerable to respiratory conditions during the winter, so please take all reasonable steps to ensure you and your family are as well protected as you can be.

I hope this update is helpful.