Shingles: guidance and vaccination programme

The characteristics, management and surveillance of shingles (herpes zoster).

Shingles is an infection of a nerve and the area of skin around it. It is caused by the herpes varicella-zoster virus, which also causes chickenpox.

Following chickenpox infection, the virus can lie dormant in the nervous tissue but may reappear following reactivation as shingles. It is possible to have shingles more than once.

A shingles vaccination programme started in September 2013.

For symptoms and general information on shingles, visit NHS.UK.



The Virus Reference Department (VRD) provides diagnostic and reference services for rash associated viral infections.

Leaflets, posters and resources

Programme documents

Data collection

There are 2 shingles surveillance systems in place: GP sentinel surveillance, and pain clinic surveillance. They monitor the effectiveness and impact of the vaccination campaign.

Practices or clinics interested in participating in either programme please contact for further information.

GP consultation rates for shingles are included in the GP in-hours syndromic surveillance system

Research and analysis

Published 13 September 2013
Last updated 20 September 2023 + show all updates
  1. Added 'Shingles vaccination: why you are being asked to wait'.

  2. Updated training slide set.

  3. Updated training slide set.

  4. Added 'Shingles vaccination programme: changes from September 2023 letter'.

  5. Added link to training slide set for healthcare professionals.

  6. Added shingles vaccination checklist.

  7. Added Shingrix® vaccine for people with weakened immune systems.

  8. Added 'Shingles immunisation programme: introduction of Shingrix® letter'.

  9. Added reports for 2017 to 2018, 2018 to 2019 and 2019 to 2020.

  10. Added link to the shingles training slide set.

  11. Added the April 2018 shingles vaccination programme letter.

  12. Added guidance document for healthcare professionals.

  13. Added the herpes zoster (shingles) immunisation programme 2016 to 2017: evaluation report.

  14. Updated shingles eligibility calculator for 2017 to 2018.

  15. Revised shingles vaccination leaflet.

  16. Added Shingles vaccination eligibility poster for 2017 to 2018.

  17. Updated poster: Who is eligible for the 2016 to 2017 shingles vaccine?

  18. Updated shingles vaccination leaflet for immunisation programme from 1 September 2016.

  19. Added letter providing information on the shingles immunisation programme from 1 September 2016

  20. Poster guides for patients and GPs showing the eligible ages for the shingles vaccination from 1 September 2015.

  21. Herpes zoster (shingles) immunisation programme 2013 to 2014: evaluation report added to the collection.

  22. The 'Shingles immunisation programme letter' has been uploaded.

  23. Added new leaflet, describing programme from 1 September 2014 onward.

  24. First published.