Patients who have developed shingles after being administered with the Zostavax vaccine may be eligible to pursue a claim and seek financial compensation.
Zostavax is a vaccine meant to prevent shingles in patients aged 50 and older. It contains a weakened form of the chickenpox virus to help the body build immunity against the infection. A growing number of lawsuits have been filed by patients and affected families who developed shingles after being vaccinated with Zostavax, claiming that the manufacturer, Merck & Co., was aware of this adverse effect but did not disclose this information.
If you or a loved one received the Zostavax vaccine and later developed shingles, contact Maxwell Law Group LLP today. We can answer your questions and review your case for free.
Important Note: Zostavax is no longer available in the US as of November 2020.
What is Zostavax?
Zostavax is a prevention vaccine against shingles, an infection caused by the chickenpox (varicella) virus which can stay dormant in the body for many years. It is given to older patients when the effects of the virus most commonly manifest.
The FDA approved Zostavax in 2006 specifically for individuals 60 years of age and older under manufacturer Merck & Co. This age range was later changed in 2011 to include patients 50 to 59 years old.
Zostavax was the only shingles vaccine available in the US until 2017, and it has been administered 36 million times in the past decade. Merck and Co. earned $749 million from Zostavax in 2016 alone.
Zostavax Quick Facts
Vaccine prevention for shingles
Merck & Co.
How Does Zostavax Work?
Zostavax contains a live attenuated form of varicella zoster virus (VZV) which alerts the body’s immune system. After fighting the weakened virus, the body will then build resistance and immunity so it can fight off the actual reactivated virus. It is administered as a single dose in the deltoid (shoulder) region.
The efficacy rate of Zostavax is only 51% across all ages, which further decreases as the patient’s age increases. By 80 years of age, the efficacy of the vaccine is estimated at only 18%.
Risks and Warnings
In 2014, a label change added shingles as a side effect of Zostavax. Since the vaccine is only administered in patients aged 50 and above, some of the patients of the vaccine have a compromised immune system — thus resulting in the patients being unable to fight off the weakened form of the virus. As a result, the vaccine includes several health risks, including developing chickenpox and shingles itself.
It is also alleged that patients who develop shingles after receiving Zostavax are more likely to suffer from other serious injuries including vision and hearing loss, paralysis, neurological damage, and potentially fatal liver failure.
In 2016, the FDA required another label update to warn patients about the risk of necrotizing retinitis, a condition which causes inflammation and redness in the eyes, along with vision problems.
Other side effects of Zostavax include:
- Injection-site reactions
- Joint and muscle pain
To date, hundreds of Zostavax lawsuits have been filed claiming that the vaccine caused them to develop a more severe form of shingles, and that the manufacturers knew about the risk of developing shingles from the Zostavax but did not warn its consumers.
The first Zostavax lawsuit was filed in 2016, with others lawsuits being filed soon thereafter. In August 2018, pending Zostavax lawsuits were consolidated into multidistrict litigation (MDL 2848) in the Eastern District of Pennsylvania.
The first bellwether trials are scheduled on November 2020.
Am I Eligible to Participate in a Zostavax Lawsuit?
Anyone who meets the following criteria may be eligible to file a Zostavax lawsuit:
1. You received Zostavax vaccine after 2006 and were clinically diagnosed with shingles within one year of receiving the vaccine, OR
2. You developed the following complications after receiving the Zostavax vaccine:
- Encephalitis or other serious neurological disorders
- Herpetic Neuralgia
- Postherpetic Neuralgia (PHN)
- Bell’s Palsy
- Blindness, eye infections, retinal damage or other vision problems
- Hearing loss
- Guillain-Barre Syndrome, Chronic Inflammatory Demyelinating Polyneuropathy, Meniere’s Disease, or other autoimmune disorders
- Cardiovascular problems
- Congestive heart failure
How Maxwell Law Group Can Help
If you or your loved one developed shingles or other serious complications after being administered with Zostavax, Maxwell Law Group can help get you the compensation you deserve. Call (844) 525-7155 or fill out the form below and we’ll investigate your case at no charge to you.
You Deserve to be Compensated
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