ELDERLY Scots aged 70 will now be offered a vaccination to help protect against shingles for a new immunisation programme which starts today.
As part of a catch-up campaign, the vaccine will also be offered to all 79-year-olds during 2013-14.
The move comes after the Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation, which makes recommendations to all UK governments, backed the use of the shingles vaccine earlier this year.
Doctors will contact eligible patients, who may be offered the vaccine at the same time as having their winter flu jabs.
Public health minister 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, 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.”
Around 7,000 cases of shingles occur in Scotland annually.