Public Health Scotland (PHS) is encouraging those eligible to get vaccinated and protect themselves from developing shingles.  

PHS’s Head of Immunisation and Vaccination, Dr Sam Ghebrehewet, visited the Eddlewood Vaccination Centre in NHS Lanarkshire today to highlight the importance of coming forward for the shingles vaccination to those eligible.

Shingles is caused by the same virus that causes chickenpox which can become active again later in life.

The vaccine helps build up immunity and reduces the risk of developing shingles by over 70%. This is especially important for older people as the virus is more likely to become active again among them and can also be more painful.

Local health boards in Scotland have been inviting all those currently eligible by letter to come forward for their free shingles vaccination since January 2024 and include:

  • People who were aged 65 or 70 on 1 September 2023
  • 71-79 year olds not previously vaccinated
  • Those aged 50 or over, about to start immunosuppressive therapy or with a severely weakened immune system
  • Those aged 18 or over who have received a stem cell transplant
  • Those aged 18 or over who have CAR-T therapy

Dr Sam Ghebrehewet said:

“Around 400 people aged 70 and over are hospitalised due to shingles related complications every year in Scotland. The shingles vaccine is a safe and effective way of reducing the likelihood of getting shingles.

“I’m pleased to join NHS Lanarkshire’s vaccination team at Eddlewood today and see people coming forward for the shingles vaccine, which will protect them from getting shingles and associated complications. As well as reducing your risk of getting shingles, taking up the offer of the vaccine reduces your risk of experiencing long term pain and being hospitalised.  Public Health Scotland continues to work closely with all health boards to ensure as many people as possible receive their shingles vaccine and protect themselves from shingles and its complications, such as post-herpetic neuralgia, where nerve pain lasts for several months after the shingles rash has gone.”

Toby Tipper, Vaccination Manager, NHS Lanarkshire said:

“Shingles is caused by the same virus that causes chickenpox and it can lie inactive after you recover from chickenpox. The virus can become active again in later life when you have a weakened immune system due to age, stress or other illnesses.

“The shingles vaccine helps reduce the risk of shingles developing and, if you do develop it, the vaccine reduces how serious the symptoms will be. Getting your vaccine, when invited, is the best way to help protect yourself against shingles.”

The main symptom of shingles is pain followed by a rash. Speak to your local pharmacist if you think you have symptoms of shingles and are 18 years or older.

More information on shingles and the shingles vaccine is available on NHS Inform:

Last updated: 27 March 2024