Zostavax is a shingles vaccine that contains a live chickenpox virus. Its potential side effects include shingles — the same disease it is supposed to prevent — and chickenpox, which can have 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. If you or somebody you know has been diagnosed with a severe side effect, 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.
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
- Hearing problems
- Brain inflammation (encephalitis)
- Chronic pain
- Congestive heart failure
- Guillain-Barré Syndrome
- Acute Disseminated Encephalomyelitis (ADEM)
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. If you or somebody you know has been diagnosed with shingles, 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.
Attention Lawyers: We consider a referral from another law firm to be one of the greatest compliments. If your firm is interested in referring us a case or for us to send you a list of previous award judgments and/or average referral fees, please visit the Lawyer Referral section of our website.