People have filed lawsuits over serious injuries they say Zostavax caused, ranging from vision and hearing loss to death. Zostavax has also reportedly caused shingles — the very condition the vaccine is designed to prevent — in some recipients of the vaccine.
Others 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 man lost the ability to walk shortly after receiving the Zostavax vaccine, according to a lawsuit filed in New Jersey by Morgan & Morgan attorney Michael Goetz.
The plaintiff, Norman Sukkar, was hospitalized and diagnosed with acute transverse myelitis — an incurable inflammation of the spinal cord — less than five months after receiving the Zostavax vaccine on the recommendation of his doctor. The lawsuit alleges that Merck’s defective Zostavax vaccine was the direct cause of Mr. Sukkar’s permanent injuries, and that the vaccine poses a serious risk of bodily harm to consumers.
Another woman developed blurred vision, dizziness, and a headache within 24 hours of receiving the Zostavax vaccine in 2014. 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 alleges.
As of early 2019, the U.S. District Judge of the Eastern District of Pennsylvania has selected the initial cases in the Zostavax multidistrict litigation. The cases will be grouped into two categories and prepared for 5 trials set to take place between fall of 2020 and summer of 2021. Group A will consist of cases where plaintiffs developed shingles as a result of the vaccine, and group B will consist of cases where plaintiffs developed non-shingles related injuries.
These cases are considered “bellwether” cases which means that the results of these cases will set the tone and expectations for future cases. It is believed that these cases could be settled long before going to trial.