PEOPLE eligible for the shingles vaccine are being urged to protect themselves from developing the condition.

Public Health Scotland (PHS) is encouraging those eligible to get vaccinated as it helps build up immunity and reduces the risk of developing shingles by more than 70 per cent.

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

NHS Forth Valley has been inviting all those currently eligible by letter to come forward for their free shingles vaccination since January 2024.

People eligible include those who were aged 65 or 70 on September 1, 2023; 71-79 year olds not previously vaccinated as well as those who are aged 50 or over and about to start immunosuppressive therapy or with a severely weakened immune system.

Those aged 18 or over who have received a stem cell transplant or have CAR-T therapy are also eligible.

Dr Sam Ghebrehewet, head of immunisation and vaccination at PHS, 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.

Getting the vaccine is is especially important for older people as the virus is more likely to become active again among them and can also be more painful.

Dr Ghebrehewet added: “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.”

The vaccine is being offered to more people to help protect them at an earlier age and is being rolled out over 10 years, according to a social media post by NHS Forth Valley.

For more details, including eligibility, visit