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Shingles Vaccine Zostavax Lawsuit in 2024 (Latest Updates)

The Zostavax shingles vaccination has been linked to a wide range of serious side effects. If you or a loved one has been the victim of Zostavax, you are not alone. To see if you qualify for the lawsuit, contact the Zostavax lawyers at Schmidt & Clark, LLP.
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C.L. Mike Schmidt Published by C.L. Mike Schmidt

Free Zostavax Lawsuit Evaluation: If you developed any of the following side effects within six months after you received the Zostavax shingles vaccination, you should contact our law firm immediately for a free case evaluation. You may be entitled to compensation through the filing of a Zostavax lawsuit and we can help:

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

Please note: We are no longer accepting cases for shingles-only, “rash”, “blisters”, etc.

Zostavax Lawsuits Allege

What is Zostavax?

The shingles vaccine Zostavax contains a weakened form of the varicella-zoster virus, which is the shingles virus. The drug, which is the only approved shingles vaccine currently available on the U.S. market, is supposed to work by stimulating the body’s immune system response to this virus without actually causing disease.

However, Zostavax lawsuits allege that not only has the drug proven to be largely ineffective in preventing shingles, but it may also cause shingles, dormant chickenpox viruses, and a large number of other serious injury.

Does Zostavax Really Work?

Shingles can be a debilitating condition to the immune system, especially for seniors who most often develop it. However, it has recently been found that the shingles vaccine Zostavax is effective in barely half the people who receive it, making the potential health risks associated with the drug not worth the benefits.

In August 2014, the FDA reported that Zostavax manufacturer Merck Co. added “shingles” to the list of possible side effects of Zostavax warned about on the product’s labeling and packaging insert.


Post Herpetic Neuralgia

What’s the Problem?

According to the National Vaccine Information Center (NVIC), Zostavax has recently been found to be only about 51% effective and may cause serious, potentially life-threatening side effects in certain users [1].

As of September 1, 2015, there had been 1,141 serious adverse events reported to the Vaccine Adverse Events Reporting System (VAERS) in connection with shingles containing vaccines since 1990. Over 33% of those serious shingles vaccine-related adverse events occur in seniors 65-75 years of age. Of these shingles-vaccine related adverse event reports to VAERS 90 were deaths, with 40% of the deaths occurring in seniors over 70 years of age.- National Vaccine Information Center stated.


Even Death

Zostavax Side Effects

Side effects associated with Zostavax include:

  • Shingles
  • Chickenpox
  • Injection site reactions (pain, redness, itching, swelling, warmth, bruising)
  • Chronic inflammatory demyelinating polyneuropathy
  • Brain damage
  • Allergic reactions
  • Nervous system problems
  • Congestive heart failure
  • Vision damage/keratitis
  • Viral infection
  • Headache
  • Diarrhea
  • Joint and/or muscle pain
  • Skin rash
  • Even death

Brain Damage

FDA Warning

In August 2014, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) ordered Zostavax’s manufacturer Merck Co. to include shingles as a potential side effect of the Zostavax vaccination on the product labeling and package insert. FDA’s letter to the company reads:

“We have approved your request (to) update the Package Insert, Section 6.3 Postmarketing Experience to include “infections and infestations: Herpes (vaccine strain)” and to update the Patient Package Insert to include “Shingles” in the “What are the possible side effects of ZOSTAVAX?” section.”


Zostavax Lawsuit

What is Shingles?

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention research from 2023, shingles is a painful skin rash that is often accompanied by blisters [2]. The condition is also referred to as “herpes zoster,” or just “zoster.” A shingles rash typically appears on one side of the face or body and lasts from 2 to 4 weeks.

Shingles Symptoms

The main symptom of shingles is pain, which can be quite severe. Other symptoms include fever, headache, chills and upset stomach. In rare cases, a shingles infection can lead to pneumonia, hearing problems, blindness, brain inflammation (encephalitis), or death.

Also Read: Tepezza Side Effects Lawsuit

CDC Recommends “Safer, More Effective” Herpes Zoster Virus Vaccine

The American health system is shifting away from recommending Zostavax in favor of what is reportedly a safer and more effective vaccine.

In October 2017 the Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices, which advises the CDC, officially began recommending a new shingles vaccine over Zostavax to prevent shingles outbreak. The new vaccine, Shingrix, is manufactured by pharmaceutical giant GlaxoSmithKline and was approved by the FDA in October.

The vaccines differ in a few ways. Studies show that Shingrix is 98 percent effective against shingles for people between the ages of 50 and 69, and 91 percent effective against post-herpetic neuralgia for people 50 and older, according to The New York Times. By comparison, Zostavax is 51 percent effective against shingles and 67 percent effective against post-herpetic neuralgia.

Additionally, while Zostavax uses a live, but weakened form of the herpes virus, Shingrix uses a non-live piece of the virus (also known as a “sub-unit vaccine”), which can reduce the possibility of an adverse reaction.

Sub-unit vaccines can also be safely used on most people with weakened immune systems and long-term health problems, according to the U.S. Department of Health & Human Services.

What are Zostavax Vaccine Lawsuits Alleging?

People who have filed Zostavax lawsuits claim serious injuries they say the Zostavax shingles vaccine caused, ranging from vision and hearing loss to death. Zostavax has the potential of eventually creating shingles — the very condition the vaccine is designed to prevent — in some recipients of the vaccine.

Other 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 Zostavax lawsuit steering committee filed in New Jersey.

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 Zostavax lawsuit alleges that Merck failed to warn that the defective Zostavax vaccine could cause 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, plaintiffs allege in their lawsuit against Merck.

Zostavax Multidistrict Litigation

The U.S. District Judge of the Eastern District of Pennsylvania has selected the initial cases in the Zostavax multi-district litigation. 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.

Has a Zostavax Class Action Been Filed?

To date, no Zostavax class action lawsuit has been filed over injuries allegedly caused by the Zostavax shingles vaccine, and it is unlikely that any such action will be entered in the future.

However, our lawyers are reviewing potential individual lawsuits for people who suffered the aforementioned side effects after receiving the vaccination.

If we determine that you have a valid claim against Merck, you may be entitled to compensation to assist with medical bills, lost wages, pain and suffering, and other damages.

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Have you or a loved one suffered from the adverse side effects caused by defective medication?

Get a Free Zostavax Shingles Vaccine Lawsuit Evaluation With Our Lawyers

The Vaccine Injury Litigation Group at Schmidt & Clark, LLP law firm is an experienced team of trial lawyers that focus on the representation of plaintiffs in Zostavax litigation. We are handling individual litigation nationwide and currently filing lawsuits against pharmaceutical companies in all 50 states.

Free No Obligation Consultation: If you or a loved one received a Zostavax vaccination and was subsequently diagnosed with any of the following conditions within 6 months, you should contact our law firm immediately by using the form below or dialing (866) 588-0600 for a free case evaluation. You may be entitled to compensation through the filing of a Zostavax lawsuit and we can help.



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