This section of the website is for UK healthcare professionals only. If you are not a healthcare professional, please click here.
This section of the website is for UK healthcare professionals only. If you are not a healthcare professional, please click here.
From 1st September 2020

70 - 79 year olds are eligible for the Shingles National Immunisation Programme

  • Vaccination can be offered all year round and is usually one vaccination appointment.
  • As for any vaccine, shingles vaccination may not result in protection in all vaccine recipients.
  • Like all medicines, vaccines are associated with certain side effects which can affect people differently.
  • Shingles vaccination within the current shingles immunisation programme is not suitable for people with certain medical conditions.
  • MSD manufactures the Zostavax® (shingles (herpes zoster) vaccine (live)) currently provided in Shingles National Immunisation Programme. Please refer to the current Summary of Product Characteristics for full prescribing and safety information.

Optimising your shingles vaccination service

Prescribing Information (Great Britain) & Prescribing Information (Northern Ireland) [External links]

Identify shingles patients on EMIS and SystmOne

A series of videos demonstrating how to edit patient searches, perform text invites, perform mail merge and set up alerts.

Edit searches, text invite patients and set up alerts

Optimising your shingles vaccination service

A series of short videos on:

  • Shingles disease information
  • Shingles National Immunisation Programme (NIP)
  • Best practice suggestions on ways to improve your shingles coverage rate

eLearning for Shingles National Immunisation Program

Patient support materials

To order the resources, by clicking on the link, it will direct you to a third-party website, Medisa. This site is to place an order for the resources only, it is managed by Medisa and MSD has no input in its website management. MSD is responsible for initiating, reviewing and approving the vaccines content and materials which it provides via this website.

Posters, leaflets, bunting, surgery video aimed at those people in their seventies, informing them about shingles, and that they may be eligible to receive vaccination as part of the national programme.

Disease overview


The Varicella Zoster Virus (VZV) is a herpes virus and member of the sub-family Alphaherpesviridae. Humans (and some higher primates) are the only long term host of a pathogen of an infectious disease. VZV is one virus that causes two diseases, chickenpox and shingles. Primary VZV infection results in chickenpox (varicella) usually affecting children and young adults. Once the clinical symptoms of varicella have resolved, the VZV remains dormant in the nervous system of the infected person (virus latency). In some individuals, the VZV reactivates in later life, resulting in the clinical manifestation of shingles (herpes zoster).

Incidence of Shingles in the UK

It is estimated that 1 in 4 people develop shingles in their lifetime. A study by Gauthier et al (2009) analysed incidence in adults aged ≥50 years in the UK during 2000–2006. They concluded that incidence increased markedly with age up to 84 years, and was more common in females than in males after age-adjustment.*1

GP-based studies in England & Wales suggest >50,000 cases of shingles occur in people aged 70+ annually*. The incidence of shingles increases with age.*2

Estimated annual age-specific incidence of shingles per 100,000 per year in the immunocompetent population in England and Wales (population 2007)2

Age group Incidence per 100,000 per year (general)
60-64 706
65-69 791
70-74 876
75-79 961
80-84 1,046
85+ 1,216

Complications of Shingles

  • The severity of the symptoms of shingles can range from mild to severe and can be very unpleasant for some
  • Most people recover but it is estimated that 15-20% of people in their 70's can go on to develop chronic nerve pain called post-herpetic neuralgia (PHN)2

Potential impact of long-lasting pain:

  • Interference with daily activities (e.g. dressing, shopping, work, mobility)
  • Disruption of sleep
  • Anorexia and weight loss
  • Chronic fatigue, depression and social isolation

Treatment of Shingles and Post herpetic neuralgia (PHN)

The treatment of shingles is commonly antiviral agents and pain management medicines. The antiviral agents inhibit replication of the virus so attenuating severity of the shingles and cause less viral shedding. The rash healing is hastened and the severity and duration of pain can be reduced if treatment is initiated early, ideally within 72 hours of rash onset.

Pain management may include self-management advice, topical analgesics, oral analgesics including neuropathic analgesia or referral to the pain clinic.

ZOSTAVAX® is indicated for

Prevention of herpes zoster ("zoster" or shingles) and herpes zoster-related post-herpetic neuralgia (PHN) in the UK
Immunisation of individuals who are 50 years of age or older


  1. Gauthier, A et al. Epidemiology and cost of herpes zoster and post-herpetic neuralgia in the United Kingdom. (2009). Epidemiol Infect 137;1:38-47.
  2. van Hoek AJ, et al. Estimating the cost-effectiveness of vaccination against herpes zoster in England and Wales. (2009). Vaccine 27;9:1454-67

Supporting documentation

Prescribing Information (Great Britain) & Prescribing Information (Northern Ireland)
By clicking the links above you will leave the MSD Connect website and be taken to the emc PI portal website

GB-CIN-00239 | Date of Preparation: April 2021