THOSE eligible are being urged to get vaccinated against shingles, a condition which develops in one in four adults.

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

Public Health Scotland (PHS) said the vaccine helps build up immunity and reduces the risk of developing shingles by more than 70%.

It said this is especially important for older people as the virus is more likely to become active again among that group and can also be more painful.

Since January, local health boards in Scotland have been writing to all those currently eligible to invite them to come forward for their free shingles vaccination.

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Dr Sam Ghebrehewet, PHS head of immunisation and vaccination, visited the Eddlewood Vaccination Centre in the NHS Lanarkshire health board area on Tuesday to highlight the importance of the vaccination programme.

He 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.

The National: Symptoms of shingles include a painful rash often isolated to one side of the bodySymptoms of shingles include a painful rash often isolated to one side of the body (Image: Getty Images)

“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.”

Those eligible include people who were aged 65 or 70 on September 1 2023, excluding people who were aged 66 to 69 on this date.

Also eligible are 71 to 79-year-olds who were not previously vaccinated, and those aged 50 or over who are about to start immunosuppressive therapy or have a severely weakened immune system.

It is also available to those aged 18 or over who have received a stem cell transplant or are having or have had CAR-T therapy.

PHS said one in four adults develop shingles and one in five people with shingles go on to develop longer-lasting pain.

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Toby Tobias, vaccination manager at 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.

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