People aged 70 will now be offered a single vaccination to help protect against shingles. Throughout 2013/14, all 79 year olds will also be offered the vaccine as part of a catch up programme.

The introduction of the shingles vaccine follows a recommendation of the Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation.

Those eligible will be invited for their immunisation by their GP practice. While people can have this vaccine at any time of the year, for many people it will be offered at the same time as the seasonal flu vaccine.

In welcoming this announcement Falkirk West MSP Michael Matheson said:
“Shingles is a debilitating condition that is more likely to affect people, and to be more severe, as they grow older. For older people, shingles can be a significant cause of illness and pain, with many people developing a very painful and long lasting condition, Post Herpetic Neuralgia (PHN), which is why we are offering a new vaccination programme.

“The new vaccine could prevent many people from getting shingles and reduce the number of people that are hospitalised each year. With shingles, once you’ve had it, there is a chance that you could get it again, this vaccine will also reduce the risk of this happening.

“The Scottish Immunisation Programme is continuing to bring great benefits to the health of the older population. With around 7,000 cases of shingles occurring in people aged 70 each year in Scotland, many in the Falkirk area, it’s hugely important that people take up the invitation to get their vaccine and protect themselves against shingles.”