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Zostavax Lawsuit

Zostavax Lawsuit

Zostavax is a shingles vaccine that contains a live chickenpox virus. The potential side effects of Zostavax include shingles — the same disease it is supposed to prevent — and other life-threatening complications.

What You Can Do & How We Can Help

The Schmidt Firm, PLLC is currently accepting Zostavax induced injury cases in all 50 states, including:

  • Serious neurological diseases or disorders, including brain inflammation (encephalitis)
  • Herpetic Neuralgia (disorder in the nerves)
  • Postherpetic neuralgia, or PHN (pain continuing after shingles blister subside)
  • Myelitis (spinal cord inflammation)
  • Bell’s Palsy (facial paralysis)
  • Vision problems, including: blindness, eye infections, and retinal damage (necrotizing retinitis)
  • Hearing loss

If you or somebody you know has been diagnosed with any of these side effects within 6 months of vaccination, you should contact our lawyers immediately for a free case consultation. Please use the form below to contact our Vaccine Injury Litigation Group or call toll free 24 hours a day at (866) 920-0753.

Shingles Vaccine Lawsuit in New Jersey

July 2017 — A group of 18 people have filed a lawsuit (PDF) in New Jersey accusing Merck & Co. of failing to warn that the Zostavax shingles vaccine can potentially cause shingles and death. There were 36 deaths and 1,111 serious injuries from Zostavax reported by September 2015. Click here to read more.

Zostavax Death Reported in Australia

After a sick person died after receiving Zostavax, health officials in Australia issued a warning that the virus in Zostavax can cause deadly infections. Doctors should “carefully consider a patient’s immunological status prior to vaccination, and not administer Zostavax in immunodeficient or immunosuppressed patients. If unsure, defer vaccination and seek specialist advice.” Click here to read more.

Nevada Woman Files 1st Zostavax Lawsuit

In February 2017, a woman from Nevada became the first-known victim of the Zostavax shingles vaccine to file a lawsuit (PDF) accusing Merck & Co. of downplaying the risk of side effects. The case is pending in the Philadelphia Court of Common Pleas — In RE: Jorja Bentley vs. Merck & Co., et al.Case No. 161004102

What is Zostavax?

Zostavax is a single-injection vaccine against shingles that contains a live herpes zoster virus. The virus is “attenuated,” meaning it is weaker, but it can still replicate (usually poorly). Zostavax is about 14X stronger than the chickenpox vaccine given to children.

Zostavax Only 50% Effective at Preventing Shingles

Zostavax reduced the rate of shingles by 51.3% in a study of 38,000 adults over 60. In real numbers, 1.7% of patients who received Zostavax got shingles vs. 3.3% of patients who were not vaccinated. Protection lasts 5 years. It is most useful in patients 60-69 years old.

What is the problem?

At over $200 a shot, Zostavax is very expensive and only prevents shingles in about half of patients. It can also cause shingles or chickenpox, with devastating consequences for patients who have vulnerable immune systems.

FDA Orders Merck to Add “Shingles” to Zostavax Side Effects

In August 2014, the FDA asked Merck to add “shingles” to the list of possible side effects from Zostavax. The FDA also strengthened warnings about herpes zoster viral “infections and infestations.”

What is Shingles?

Shingles is a painful skin rash that occurs when the virus that causes chickenpox (herpes zoster) is re-activated in the body. It can affect the eyes and cause blindness. It can also damage nerve fibers and cause excruciating chronic pain, especially in older adults.

Complications of Shingles

  • Pneumonia
  • Hearing problems
  • Blindness
  • Brain inflammation (encephalitis)
  • Chronic pain
  • Congestive heart failure
  • Guillain-Barré Syndrome
  • Acute Disseminated Encephalomyelitis (ADEM)
  • Meningitis
  • Stroke
  • Death

Neurological Disorders and Brain Inflammation

Shingles can cause serious neurological diseases or disorders, including brain inflammation (encephalitis or meningitis) with significant brain damage. This can lead to serious complications like stroke, facial paralysis, hearing or balance problems, and death.

Herpetic Neuralgia

Herpetic Neuralgia is a nerve disorder that occurs when the shingles virus attacks nerve fibers in the skin. The pain continues long after the blisters and other symptoms of shingles have disappeared. It is estimated that 1 in 5 patients with shingles will develop herpetic neuralgia. In some cases, pain is extremely severe and debilitating.

Postherpetic Neuralgia (PHN)

Post-Herpetic Neuralgia (PHN) is a type of chronic pain that is caused by damage to nerve fibers in the skin. The burning pain continues long after the shingles blister subside, often for many months or years. PHN occurs in up to 74% of shingles victims who are over 60, and around 30% of shingles victims who are under the age of 40 years.

Myelitis

Myelitis is a devastating type of spinal cord inflammation that can occur after a shingles infection. In most cases, myelitis appears after recovery from shingles. It can cause muscle weakness in the arms or legs, pain, abnormal sensations (burning, numbness, tingling, etc.), bladder dysfunction, muscle spasms, headache, fever, and more.

Bell’s Palsy

Bell’s Palsy is a type of facial paralysis that occurs when shingles infects nerves in the face. It is believed to be caused by inflammation and swelling of the nerves that control muscles in the face. The symptoms include weakness or paralysis on one side of the face, drooping facial muscles, drooling, headache, pain in the jaw on the affected side of the face, and changes in tears, saliva, or tastes.

Vision Problems or Blindness

Shingles infections in the eyes can cause severe vision problems, including permanent blindness, eye infections, and retinal damage (also called “necrotizing retinitis” or “retinal necrosis”) due to inflammation of the retina or blood vessels in the eyes. Around 20-30% of people who develop shingles in their eyes suffer from permanent vision loss.

Hearing Loss and Deafness

Hearing loss — and even permanent deafness — may occur when shingles infections occur in the ears. Hearing problems are most likely to occur when the shingles rash appears on the head, face, or skin around the ears. Approximately one-third of people who develop a shingles rash near their ears will suffer hearing problems. It may be temporary or permanent. Only one ear is typically affected.

Are Vaccines to Blame for Shingles Epidemic?

Shingles is becoming more common in the United States. From 1992 to 2010, the rate of shingles increased by 39%. Researchers have theorized that widespread chickenpox vaccination in children since the 1990s may be to blame, but evidence is inconclusive.

Zostavax Lawsuits — Not Covered by VICP

Zostavax is not a routine childhood vaccine, and therefore people who were injured cannot seek compensation through the federal Vaccine Injury Compensation Program (VICP). Instead, they must file an individual lawsuit against Merck & Co.

Do I have a Zostavax Lawsuit?

The Schmidt Firm, PLLC is currently accepting Zostavax induced injury cases in all 50 states, including:

  • Serious neurological diseases or disorders, including brain inflammation (encephalitis)
  • Herpetic Neuralgia (disorder in the nerves)
  • Postherpetic neuralgia, or PHN (pain continuing after shingles blister subside)
  • Myelitis (spinal cord inflammation)
  • Bell’s Palsy (facial paralysis)
  • Vision problems, including: blindness, eye infections, and retinal damage (necrotizing retinitis)
  • Hearing loss

If you or somebody you know has been diagnosed with any of these side effects within 6 months of vaccination, you should contact our lawyers immediately for a free case consultation. Please use the form below to contact our Vaccine Injury Litigation Group or call toll free 24 hours a day at (866) 920-0753.

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