Vaccinations for vulnerable young people

Young people within NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde (NHSGGC) with certain conditions are to be offered the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine, in line with the latest advice from the Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation (JCVI), before the majority of schools return on the 16th of August.

The vaccine will be offered to around 4,000 children and young people in Scotland affected by severe neuro-disabilities, Down’s syndrome, underlying conditions resulting in immunosuppression, and those who have a diagnosis of Learning/Intellectual disability.

Also to be invited are children and young people aged 12 and over who are household contacts of persons (adults or children) who are immunosuppressed, to provide indirect protection for that member of their household. A household contact is defined as someone living in the same house, or anyone the person comes in to contact with face-to-face on most days of the week, such as a carer.

Young people aged 16 to 17 years of age who are at higher risk of serious COVID-19 had been invited forward for vaccination, as recommended by the JCVI previously. NHSGGC will be inviting those that are now 16 who were not vaccinated as part of that earlier offer forward now.

Dr Linda de Caestecker, Director of Public Health for NHSGGC, said:

“From this week, we will be contacting parents or carers of vulnerable children and young people aged 12 and over to get the COVID-19 vaccine and aim to have the majority of first dose vaccinations complete before schools return.

“Invitations will be extended by letter, phone or through their regular healthcare professional.  The vaccine will be administered in the most appropriate setting depending on the child or young person’s care or health needs.  That may be in their own house, in a care setting, or at a clinic. 

“Those aged 12 and over who are household contacts of someone who is immunosuppressed, or who have regular face to face contact with someone who is, will receive a national letter.

“There is no need for anyone in these groups to do anything, we will be in contact and please do not attend a drop-in clinic as the vaccine cannot be administered to these groups in that setting.   

“We would urge those now eligible to get the vaccine to provide the best protection against coronavirus."

Health Secretary, Humza Yousaf, said:

“The programme has always offered vaccine to groups where the benefits far outweigh the risks. The research and evidence shows that is the case for young people in these key vulnerable groups and they should now be called forward for a COVID-19 vaccine.

“I would urge any parent or carer who has a child or young person eligible for a vaccine to visit NHS Inform where they can find the most up-to-date information; and read the leaflet that they will receive with their letter or from their Health Board. Parents, carers or young people can also speak to their local health professional to discuss this further if they need to.”

In line with the latest JCVI advice, we will now be offering COVID-19 vaccinations to children and young people who are from key groups; and are between 12 to 17 years. Vaccinations will be offered to:
12 to 15 year olds with severe neuro-disabilities
12 to 15 year olds with Down’s syndrome
12 to 15 year olds with underlying conditions resulting in immunosuppression
12 to 15 year olds with profound and multiple learning disabilities (PMLD)
12 to 15 year olds with severe learning disabilities
12 to 17 year olds who have a diagnosed learning/intellectual disability (mild or moderate)
16 year olds who have any of these above conditions or  underlying conditions that place them at higher risk of serious COVID-19 (that were not 16 at the time of the previous invite for all 16 and 17 years olds in March 2021)
Young people aged 12 years and above who live in the same household of persons (adults or children) who are immunosuppressed (We previously invited over 16s who are household contacts of those on the shielding list)
The JCVI is not currently advising routine vaccination of children outside of these groups, based on the current evidence and is of the view, at this time, that the health benefits of universal vaccination in children and young people below the age of 18 years do not outweigh the potential risks.

As Scotland does not have a national Learning Disability Register we are taking a straightforward approach of inviting everyone with a diagnosed learning/intellectual disability for vaccination.  This does not include people with learning difficulties such as dyslexia or ADHD.

The latest JCVI advice published on 19 July 2021 can be accessed via the following link:

JCVI statement on COVID-19 vaccination of children and young people aged 12 to 17 years: 15 July 2021 - GOV.UK (

For more info, see: 

Back to news