Merck’s Zostavax shingles vaccine can potentially cause serious injuries and even death, some have alleged. Our attorneys are investigating these claims in order to help those who have suffered seek justice.
What is the Zostavax Vaccine?
Zostavax is a vaccine made by pharmaceutical giant Merck, and approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration in 2006. It is currently the only approved shingles vaccine in the United States, a position that allowed the company to earn as much as $749 million in sales from the vaccine in 2016, according to reports.
This vaccine is designed to reduce the risk of getting herpes zoster — a painful and debilitating condition commonly known as shingles — in individuals ages 50 years and older. Zostavax is recommended for people aged 60 years and older by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Doctors commonly give the vaccine in a one-dose shot.
Zostavax differs from some vaccines in that it contains a live, but weakened form of the herpes zoster virus (this is officially referred to as a “live, attenuated virus”). People with weakened immune systems cannot receive these types of vaccines.
Zostavax Vaccine Can Cause Serious Injuries
People have already filed lawsuits over serious injuries they say Zostavax caused, ranging from severe eye damage to death. Zostavax has also reportedly caused shingles — the very condition the vaccine is designed to prevent — in some recipients of the vaccine.
Some recipients of the vaccine have reported eye problems such as acute retinal necrosis and blindness, along with seizures, paralysis in their limbs, brain damage, and even fatal liver failure.
One woman developed blurred vision, dizziness, and a headache within 24 hours of receiving the Zostavax vaccine in 2014, according to “Bentley v. Merck & Co.,” case number 004102, filed in Pennsylvania state court. As a result of the vaccine, she is still suffering from injuries to her right eye, elevated blood pressure, dizziness, and other physical and emotional injuries, her suit says.
Generally, according to the FDA, side effects of Zostavax may include:
- Hives at injection site
- Joint pain
- Muscle pain
What is Shingles?
Shingles is a viral infection that can cause a painful blistering rash and serious complications, especially for seniors. People over the age of 50, patients undergoing cancer treatments, and those with weakened immune systems have an increased risk of developing shingles. The rash can develop on the side of the body or the face. In cases where shingles develops near the eye, it can lead to permanent eye damage.
According to the CDC, common symptoms of shingles include:
- Blisters (which may last up to two-four weeks)
- Upset Stomach
Serious complications of shingles include loss of vision, pneumonia, hearing loss, brain inflammation, as well as post-herpetic neuralgia (PHN) and death.
PHN affects the nerve fibers and skin where the shingles rash occurred, and can lead to a burning, painful sensation or numbness that lasts long after the shingles rash clears up. Up to a third of people ages 60 years and older who get shingles can develop PHN.
What Should I Do If I’ve Been Vaccinated?
If you or someone you love has received the Zostavax vaccine and developed the serious symptoms or injuries described above, our class action attorneys would like to hear from you. Contact us today by filling out our free, no-obligation form or by calling 877-667-4265.