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.
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
Injuries from Zostavax
When the FDA approved Uloric in 2009, the FDA required Takeda Pharmaceuticals to conduct a large-scale, post-marketing safety clinical trial. The study was done in more than 6,000 patients taking either allopurinol or Uloric. The study showed that Uloric users experienced an increased risk of heart-related deaths and deaths from all causes. There were 15 deaths connected to heart issues reported out of 1,000 patients taking Uloric for a year, while 26 deaths from any cause were noted. By comparison, allopurinol users experienced 11 deaths connected to heart issues and 22 deaths from any cause.
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
We're On Your Side
Our attorneys are always ready to speak with you about your personal situation. Every day we help people in situations similar to yours. Our team can guide you each step of the way and make sure you get the financial compensation you deserve.
While our physical offices are in Utah and Washington DC, we offer our services nationwide. We'd be honored to discuss your case with you free of charge.
Please note that the law limits the time you have to pursue a claim or file a lawsuit for an injury. If you think you have a case, don't wait to take action. Contact us today.
To speak with us directly, call (844) 525-7155. We want to hear about your situation and help you through this difficult time.
ATTORNEY ADVERTISING. Nothing on this site should be taken as legal advice for any individual case or situation. This website is not intended to create, and receipt of viewing does not constitute, an attorney-client relationship. Sensitive information should not be submitted through this website as it may be considered confidential or privileged. References to prior results do not guarantee a similar outcome. The firm has attorneys licensed to practice law in Utah and Washington D.C., but the attorneys may also be admitted on an individual basis in additional state and federal courts across the United States. The location of the firm's offices are listed on this website. The firm associates with co-counsel law firms to jointly represent clients in some matters. Gregory Maxwell is the attorney responsible for the contents of this website.