Shingles is characterised by a painful skin rash.
The main complication from shingles is post-herpetic neuralgia (PHN), a long lasting neuropathic pain after the rash has disappeared. PHN can persist for months or years and the risk and severity increases with age. Its effect can be very debilitating.
More information on shingles can be found on the NHS Inform website.
- For more information on shingles immunisation, including updates, please refer to the Public Health England (PHE) Green book, chapter 28a.
- To view a letter from the Chief Medical Officer (CMO) outlining the 2017 to 2018 shingles vaccination programme, visit the Scottish Executive Health Department (SEHD) website.
- Training slides and educational materials relating to shingles are available on the NHS Education for Scotland (NES) website.
- View our screening tool for contraindications for shingles vaccine document.
For all infection prevention and control guidance visit the A-Z pathogens section of the National Infection and Prevention Control Manual.
Screening tool for contraindications for shingles vaccine
Shingles vaccine is a live attenuated vaccine and therefore some patient groups are contraindicated and unable to receive the vaccine.
The screening tool for contraindications for shingles vaccine may be used to aid identification of patients who are excluded from having it and includes explanatory notes for healthcare practitioners. The questions in the screening tool are designed to be completed by either the patient or the healthcare practitioner in a structured interview with the patient.
Please note that the screening tool is designed to help healthcare practitioners identify patients who may be excluded from having the shingles vaccine and doesn't replace clinical judgment.
Shingles vaccine programme annual reports
Read our shingles vaccine programme annual reports below:
Data and surveillance
Latest surveillance update
In September 2013, a national shingles vaccination programme was introduced using Zostavax®. As Zostavax® is a live attenuated vaccine, it can't be given to patients who've a known primary or acquired immunodeficiency state, or patients who are receiving current immunosuppressive therapy including:
- high-dose corticosteroids
- biological therapies
- combination therapies
The vaccine is offered routinely to those aged 70 years. Opportunistic vaccination is offered to eligible individuals aged 71 to 79 years who have not previously been vaccinated. For further information, see chapter 28a of the Green Book (external website).