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Adult immunisations

Adults with a health condition, anyone aged 55 years and over, and healthcare workers are offered vaccines as part of the Scottish Immunisation Programme. These vaccines help protect against serious diseases such as flu, pneumococcal, HPV and shingles.

  • This year (2020), the annual flu vaccine will be offered to adults aged 55 years or over, anyone with a health condition, household members of individuals advised to shield from coronavirus, unpaid and young carers, all pregnant women at any stage of pregnancy, healthcare workers, and social care workers who provide direct personal care.
  • The HPV vaccine is offered to men who have sex with men, up to the age of 45 years, at sexual health and HIV clinics.
  • The pneumococcal vaccine is offered to anyone with a health condition and people aged 65 years or over as a one-off vaccine.
  • Shingles immunisation is offered to people 70 to 79 years as a one-off vaccine.

Adults immunisation and health inequalities

Uptake of immunisation amongst adults in Scotland varies, however it is generally high. Uptake can differ when looking at deprivation, with rates being lower amongst those living in the most deprived areas, people from Black and Minority Ethnic (BME) groups, and people with a learning disability.

Local and national actions

Information for the public

We work closely with NHS Education for Scotland, Scottish Government and local NHS Board Immunisation Coordinators to provide up-to-date resources about the immunisation programmes offered in Scotland. Easily accessible resources in the right format and language can help adults with a health condition, and those aged 55 years and over, with informed participation.

All our public information is available in Urdu, Chinese, Polish, BSL and in an easy-read format. If you require publications or documents in other formats please email the Public Health Scotland Other Formats team.

All information for the public, as well as translations and other formats, are available on the NHS inform (external site).

Recommended vaccines

Flu immunisation

Influenza (Flu) immunisation is offered from October to March to everyone aged 55 years or over, anyone aged 6 months or older with a health condition, household members of individuals previously advised to shield from coronavirus, unpaid and young carers, all pregnant women at any stage of pregnancy, healthcare workers, and social care workers who provide direct personal care.

You can find out more about this on our adult flu immunisation page.

The pneumococcal vaccine

The pneumococcal vaccine is recommended for anyone with a serious health condition and everyone aged 65 years and over. The vaccine can be given at any time and one injection provides years of protection. The vaccine provides some protection against a form of bacterial meningitis and it also helps protect against other conditions such as severe ear infections and pneumonia caused by pneumococcal bacteria. The Scottish Government Chief Medical Officer letter August 2011 provides information on key elements of the pneumococcal vaccination programme (PDF 51 KB).

NHS inform provides pneumococcal immunisation information for the public.

The human papillomavirus (HPV) vaccine

The human papillomavirus (HPV) vaccine is recommended for men who have sex with men (MSM) up to the age of 45 years. It is available from sexual health and HIV clinics.

The vaccine helps protect MSM against cancer and genital warts caused by HPV. The Scottish Government Chief Medical Officer letter (May 2017) provides information on key elements of the HPV MSM Immunisation Programme (PDF 227 KB).

NHS inform provides HPV MSM immunisation information for the public.

The shingles vaccine

The shingles (also known as herpes zoster) vaccine is recommended for people aged 70 to 79 years of age. The vaccine, which is given as a one-off injection, can reduce the chance of getting shingles, or it can reduce how severe or long lasting the symptoms can be, if contracted. 

Resources, such as posters, leaflets, and a template letter to invite eligible patients for their shingles immunisation have been produced for health professionals (GPs, practice nurses etc.) supporting the programme.