Flu isn't the same as the common cold. Flu is caused by a different group of viruses and the symptoms tend to start more suddenly, be more severe and last longer.
Information for the public has been produced and includes some leaflets. This information can be found on the NHS Inform website.
A range of materials for healthcare professionals have also been produced and can be found on the NHS Education Scotland (NES) website.
The ‘Weekly National Seasonal Respiratory Report’ provides a regular update of current epidemiological information on respiratory pathogen activity and includes the latest flu vaccine uptake data in Scotland.
- View the latest Weekly National Seasonal Respiratory Report
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Guidance for 2019 to 2020 is available from Public Health England (PHE) on the use of antiviral agents for the treatment and prophylaxis of seasonal influenza.
This guidance has been approved for use in Scotland by the Scottish Health Protection Network Guidance Group (SHPN-GG). The guidance should be used in conjunction with the SHPN addendum.
Point of Care Tests (POCT)
The Scottish Microbiology and Virology Network (SMVN) and the Scottish Health Protection Network (SHPN) have produced a joint advisory statement that describes key recommendations that will ensure a better access to diagnostic data for future seasons.
For all infection prevention and control guidance visit the A-Z pathogens section of the National Infection and Prevention Control Manual.
In the season 2020 to 2021, the flu vaccines procured for Scotland are in line with the Joint Committee for Vaccination and Immunisation (JVCI). Please see the JVCI guidance 2021/22 (external website) for more information.
New delivery arrangements
The Vaccine Transformation Programme (VTP) in Scotland began on 1 April 2018 to modernise the delivery of vaccination programmes, including influenza vaccination. This involves transferring the delivery of such programmes away from a GP-based one to one involving delivery through specialist teams through the NHS board and Health and Social Care Partnerships (HSCP). This had only been partially progressed by late 2019 but has since accelerated in light of COVID. By late 2020, Scotland now has a mixed delivery model for influenza vaccination which varies by NHS Board.
The Digital and Data infrastructure to support this mixed model is not yet in place, meaning there is no established digital data capture or data feeds for vaccination clinics coming into national systems for reporting purposes (apart from those remaining in a GP practice). A combination of data recording systems has been used to generate the influenza vaccine uptake data.
Chief Medical Officer (CMO) letters
- CMO(2021)07 Letter: Adult flu immunisation programme 2021/22 (external weblink)
- CMO(2020)27 Letter: Adult flu immunisation programme 2020/21 (external weblink)
- CMO (2020)19 Letter: Adult flu immunisation programme 2020/21 (external weblink)
- CMO(2020)17 Letter: Scottish childhood seasonal flu vaccination programme 2020/21 (external weblink)
For further information on influenza vaccine, please visit NHS Inform (external weblink).
Patient group directions (PGDs)
Seasonal influenza vaccine uptake data visualisation
Use the dashboard to explore the seasonal influenza vaccine uptake data in Scotland. The latest data represent uptake during the 2019 to 2020 season.
Data and surveillance
Laboratory-based surveillance of seasonal respiratory pathogens is undertaken throughout the year to monitor trends and to detect when activity is higher than levels expected for the time of year based on activity in previous seasons.
Throughout the winter season, we produce regular reports summarising influenza and other seasonal pathogen activity to inform local and national planning activities.
Please note that the monthly summer 2020 schedule of reporting was cancelled due to workforce reprioritisation to support the response to the SARS-CoV-2 outbreak.
- View latest surveillance report on seasonal influenza activity and flu vaccine uptake data
- View surveillance reports from 16 March 2020 to present
- View surveillance reports older than 16 March 2020 (you will need to filter the publications – use the term 'respiratory' for newer reports or 'influenza' for older reports)
Technical document for the 2018 to 2019 flu season
View the reporting rates of influenza-like illness (ILI) consultations from General Practitioners in Scotland technical document.
Erratum to 2017 to 2018 season ILI data
Influenza publications can be viewed below:
- the provisional end of season influenza vaccine effectiveness results for the 2019/20 influenza season have been published in the UK annual influenza report
- the interim 2019 to 2020 influenza vaccine effectiveness estimates from six European studies was published in Eurosurveillance
- The National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) produced supporting guidelines on increasing flu vaccination uptake