COVID-19 Vaccination and Booster Programme

The Covid-19 vaccination programme began in Scotland in December 2020, adults with Down’s syndrome were among the first group to be prioritised for the vaccine due to the increased risk of serious disease. Since then children and young people have also been included in the vaccination programme. You can find out about each of these rollouts below;

  • Everyone with Down’s Syndrome 16+ and carers 
    • Should have been prioritised for the vaccine last year and now received both doses of the vaccine as well as their booster dose.
  • Children & young people with Down’s syndrome aged 12-15 
    • Vaccines are also being offered to children aged 12 -15 who are at increased risk of serious coronavirus disease including young people with Down’s syndrome. If your child falls into this age group you should have received more information from your Local Health Board to arrange a vaccination appointment, either by post or via a phone call. We have a Q&A of frequently asked questions, you can download this below as well as some easy read information to help you prepare for your vaccine appointment. There are further easy read resources available here. Additional information on the rollout of the vaccine to 12-15 year-olds is available on the NHS Inform website here.
  • Children with Down’s syndrome aged 5-11
    • In January 2022, the Scottish Government advised that the COVID-19 vaccination programme has been extended to include youngsters with a specific medical condition, and 5-11-year-olds who have Down’s syndrome will be invited for their first vaccination.  Letters of invitation and an information leaflet about this change will be issued from 24th January to all families with a 5-11-year-old with Down’s syndrome. Parents and carers are being advised that they do not need to book an appointment online as they will be contacted by their health board. The letter will set out the arrangements in your locality. Further information is available on the Scottish Government website here. If you have not received a letter please contact us and we will do our best to get you onto the roll-out. You should also contact your GP if you haven’t received any correspondence.

COVID-19 Vaccination Programme – Autumn/Winter COVID-19 Booster Programme

In response to advice given by the Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation (JCVI) the Scottish Government has announced that a further booster vaccination will be given to the following groups in Scotland, from September 2022:

-Residents in care homes for older adults and staff working in care homes for older adults

-Frontline Health and Social Care Workers

-All adults aged 50 and over

-Those aged 5-49 years in a clinical risk group, including pregnant women

-Those aged 5-49 years who are household contacts of people with immunosuppression

-Carers aged 16-49 years

Appointment letters will be sent to the first eligible groups from August, starting with Frontline Health and Social Care Workers and those most at risk to the effects of Coronavirus.

Where possible, boosters will be given at same time as the flu vaccination (to those who are eligible).

Further information is to follow, regarding the timetable for delivery. You can read about this announcement on the Scottish Government website, by clicking here.

For Individuals with Down’s syndrome, we have received confirmation of the following from Public Health Scotland:

-Individuals with Down’s Syndrome (aged 5-49+) will be eligible for the autumn/winter booster vaccine due to being in a clinical risk group.

-Individuals with Down’s syndrome (age 50+) will be eligible for the autumn/winter booster vaccine due to their age.

-Siblings living in the same household of an individual with Down’s syndrome will not be eligible for the autumn/winter booster vaccine as it is only household contacts of those with immunosuppression who are eligible. (unless they are in one of the 6 eligible groups themselves)

-Carers, aged 16+ will be eligible for the autumn/winter booster vaccine. Carers aged 50+ will be eligible due to their age. *Carers are defined as those who are eligible for a carer’s allowance, or who are the sole or primary carer of an elderly or disabled person who is at increased risk of COVID19 and therefore clinically vulnerable.

*ref: COVID-19: the green book, chapter 14a, available here. Refer to p17 Table 3 for ‘Carers’ definition.

You can also access the Joint Committee on Vaccination and immuniasation (JCVI) updated statement for the COVID-19 vaccination programme for Autumn 2022 by clicking here.

We appreciate that there will be siblings living in the same household who will not be eligible for these vaccine boosters and we will continue to raise this as a matter of concern for families with the Scottish Government and Public Health Scotland.

Our Family Support team can be contacted by calling 0300 030 2121, emailing or using live chat (when available) if you have any queries about the Autumn/Winter COVID-19 Booster Programme.

Public Health Scotland has prepared a Q & A about the latest updates to the vaccination programme, this can be viewed here. They have also produced the below table detailing how many COVID-19 vaccine doses you are eligible for:

Information about the COVID-19 vaccine

You can find out more about the COVID-19 Vaccine at the NHS Inform website. This page includes information about the vaccine itself, as well as links to your own NHS Health Board and how to rearrange your appointment. You can also call COVID-19 vaccination helpline on 0800 030 8013 (available 8am to 8pm, 7 days per week).

The invitation letter will include an information leaflet about the vaccine. If you would like this leaflet in another language or format, these are also available to download from the NHS inform COVID-19 vaccine website (17 community languages including British Sign Language, as well as Audio, Easy Read and Large Print formats).


Reasonable adjustments for people that need support when getting their vaccine 

The Chief Medical Officer and Chief Nursing Officer have acknowledged the difficulties that people with learning disabilities may have accessing the vaccine programme and have written to the Chief Executives of each NHS Board and Health and Social Care Partnerships offering the expertise of local learning disability nurses in providing reasonable adjustments for the COVID-19 Immunisation programme. You can view this letter here.

If you are at all worried about the vaccination, please don’t hesitate to contact us on 0300 030 2121 and our Family Support Team will do our best to support you and provide assurance, as best we can. If you are worried about any medical aspects of getting the vaccine, please speak with your GP and/or hospital clinician as soon as you can. 

Visit our Latest Covid-19 Update Page to read the most recent information and guidance. 

Below you can find our Q&A of frequently asked questions about the 12 to 15-year-olds vaccine rollout, the Inequalities Impact Assessment for the Vaccination programme, as well as some easy read resources about preparing to get the vaccine.

File name Type Size Download
Q & A for 12-15 vaccine rollout PDF 0.2MB Download
Books Beyonds Words - Having a Vaccine for Coronavirus PDF 3.2MB Download
Easy Read - What you need to know about the COVID-19 Vaccine PDF 6.9MB Download
Easy Read - Coronavirus Vaccine - DSA PDF 1.3MB Download