Zostavax LawsuitShingles Vaccine Causes Patients to Contract Shingles

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Zostavax Lawsuit

CASE UPDATE: Shingles Side Effect Added to Label

August 2014 - A change to the label now includes shingles as a possible side effect from Zostavax.

Read More Updates

Zostavax — manufactured by Merck & Co Inc. Pharmaceuticals — is a vaccine designed to reduce the risk of contracting shingles, an infection that results from a dormant varicella-zoster virus reactivating in the body. Shingles, herpes zoster virus, is the second phase of a two-part infection; the initial phase being the contraction of varicella (chickenpox). After chickenpox runs its course in the body – usually during childhood – the virus remains in the spinal cord and brain, lying dormant for years and even decades. The virus reactivates and reappears later on as the shingles virus, a full-body rash characterized by blisters on one side of the torso, sharp shooting pains, and weeks’ long discomfort.

Zostavax works by injecting a weakened form of the zoster virus into the body. The body fights off the weakened zoster virus, increasing the immune system’s resistance to the virus. The body’s heightened immune system is theoretically able to combat the actual zoster virus, reducing the risk that the reactivated virus will have any effect on the body.


Who Gets Shingles?

Shingles are most common among adults aged 50+. You must have previously had chickenpox in order to contract shingles. Other factors such as immune efficiency, stress, physical trauma, long-term steroid use, and overall health can increase your chances of contracting the shingles.

The shingles vaccine, Zostavax, is available for patients 50 years and older.


Does Zostavax Cause Shingles?

However, Zostavax only works in about 50 percent of patients. If Zostavax is effective in fighting the zoster virus, its effects only last for about six years at most.

Many patients are immunocompromised: their body’s weakened immune system is unable to fight off even the weakened form of the zoster virus. As a result, immunocompromised patients who receive the Zostavax vaccine run a risk of a number of health risks, including developing chickenpox and shingles itself.

Yes – this shingles vaccine will likely cause you to contract shingles.

Patients who received the Zostavax vaccine allege that they developed more serious injuries as a result of Zostavax – blindness, hearing loss, paralysis, brain damage, and fatal liver failure.


Zostavax Lawsuit

A Zostavax lawsuit has been filed on behalf of individuals who received the Zostavax vaccine and subsequently contracted shingles.

The Zostavax lawsuits allege that Merck & CO became aware that the vaccine could cause patients to contract shingles during its premarket approval trials but failed to list shingles as a possible side effect until December 2014, nearly seven years after it was approved by the FDA.

The Zostavax lawsuits, which were filed in a number of state courts, have now been consolidated.


Zostavax Lawsuit Multidistrict Litigation

There are more currently more than 50 lawsuits filed against Merck & Co (and parent company, Bayer AG) consolidated in the Eastern District of Pennsylvania – forming the Zostavax lawsuit multidistrict litigation (MDL). The Zostavax lawsuit MDL claims that…

  1. Zostavax can cause serious injury and even death.
  2. The defendants failed to warn consumers of the possible adverse health risks associated with Zostavax.
  3. The defendants “intentionally, willfully and knowingly misrepresented” the safety of Zostavax.


Am I Eligible to Participate in the Zostavax Lawsuit?

If you or a loved one received Zostavax and subsequently developed shingles, you may be eligible to participate in the Zostavax lawsuit.

If you or a loved one meet the following requirements, you may be eligible to participate in the Zostavax lawsuit:

  1. You received the Zostavax vaccine after 2006.
  2. You contracted shingles no earlier least three weeks after and no later than one year after you received the Zostavax vaccination.
  3. You were clinically diagnosed with shingles.

*You must meet all three criteria to be eligible for participation.


You or a loved one may also be eligible to participate in the Zostavax lawsuit if you suffered any of the following injuries within two years of receiving the vaccine:

  • Encephalitis or other serious neurological disorders
  • Herpetic Neuralgia
  • Postherpetic Neuralgia (PHN)
  • Myelitis• Bell’s Palsy
  • Blindness, eye infections, retinal damage or other vision problems
  • Hearing loss
  • Guillain-Barre Syndrome, Chronic Inflammation Demyelinating Polyneuropathy,  Meniere’s Disease, or other autoimmune disorders
  • Stroke
  • Cardiovascular problems
  • Congestive heart failure
  • Vasculitis
  • Pneumonia
  • Death

*In order to qualify, you must have suffered these injuries within two years of receiving the vaccine and your injuries must have been diagnosed by a healthcare professional.


What Compensation am I Eligible to Receive?

The Zostavax shingles vaccine and other vaccines meant to prevent shingles are not covered under the HRSA Vaccine injury compensation program.

In order to be compensated for you or a loved one’s injuries, you must file a lawsuit against Merck & Co.

You may be eligible to receive compensation for both the economic and non-economic damages that you suffered as a result of your injuries. For a better understanding of your potential damages, review our guide to assessing damages.


Filing a Zostavax Lawsuit

If you believe that you may be eligible to participate in a Zostavax lawsuit, please contact the TorHoerman Law right away. Our law firm offers free, no-obligation Zostavax lawsuit case consultations for all potential clients.

At TorHoerman Law, our team of experienced lawyers and support staff are dedicated to holding pharmaceutical companies accountable for their actions and making sure our clients are fully compensated for their injuries and suffering.

Litigation Updates

Label Change Required

March 2011 - A label change is required to now include safety and efficacy data to support the use of Zostavax in individuals 50-59.


Approved for Use

May 2006 - Zostavax is approved for use in patients 60 or older.


"Covered Vaccines." Health Resources & Services Administration, 1 Sept. 2018, www.hrsa.gov/vaccine-compensation/covered-vaccines/index.html.

Last Modified: February 20th, 2020 @ 03:24 pm

What is Zostavax?

A Zostavax lawsuit multidistrict litigation has been filed on behalf of any individuals who received the Zostavax vaccine and subsequently contracted shingles or a number of other adverse effects. If you or a loved experienced an adverse health event after receiving the Zostavax vaccine, review the information below and contact the offices of TorHoerman Law.