Zostavax Lawsuits – Shingles Injuries

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The Zostavax lawsuits claim drug manufacturer Merck failed to warn patients and their doctors that the Zostavax vaccine, intended to prevent shingles, can actually cause shingles. Our law firm is representing individuals who contracted shingles after being vaccinated with Zostavax.

What We Know About the Zostavax Lawsuits

Zostavax is one of two zoster vaccines currently available (the other is Shingrix, manufactured by GlaxoSmithKline).

Zostavax was the first such vaccine to be available in the U.S. when it gained FDA approval in 2006. At that time, the Journal of the American Medical Society reported that Zostavax reduced the incidence of shingles by half, based on a study of 38,000 older adults who were given the vaccine.

Like all vaccines, Zostavax contains a live, weakened form of the virus it is intended to guard against – in this case, varicella zoster, the virus responsible for chicken pox as well as shingles. The purpose is to “alert” the immune system so that it can more effectively suppress the virus present in the patient's body. However, those whose conditions were made worse after getting the vaccine claim that the warning label for Zostavax failed to adequaly address that Zostavax could actually cause shingles.

There is also evidence to indicate that Zostavax can be fatal. Based on reports to the FDA Vaccine Adverse Events Reporting System, there were over 1,100 serious reactions to the vaccine – more than 8 percent of which caused the patient's death.

The Key Legal Issue:

Zostavax has been found to cause or exacerbate shingles when it was intended to prevent patients from getting it.

In 2014, the FDA updated the Zostavax warning label, adding shingles as one of the possible side effects. In 2017, the CDC began recommending that doctors use Shingrix instead of Zostavax.

Complications and Side Effects Related to Zostavax:

Shingles is one of the potential side effects from Zostavax. Shingles is a painful skin rash similar to chickenpox that can result in serious nerve damage (encephalitis, meningitis, and Guillen-Barre Syndrome) and put patients at risk for stroke, heart failure, and pneumonia.

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Patients who are vaccinated with Zostavax may also experience one or more of the following injuries:

  • necrotizing retinitis
  • hematoma (unusual bruising and swelling)
  • itchiness (pruritis)
  • muscle and joint pain
  • pulmonary edema (fluid buildup around the lungs)

Each year, approximately 70,000 people in the U.S. will be diagnosed with non-Hodgkin lymphoma. Symptoms include fever, night sweats, swollen lymph nodes, stomach pain, chest pain and loss of appetite. The most common form is B-cell lymphoma, which makes up 90% of all cases. T-cell makes up approximately 10%. Less than 1% of cases are NK-cell.

What compensation could be recovered in a Zostavax lawsuit?

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If you contracted shingles after being vaccinated by Zostavax, then we will be seeking the following damages for you:

  • Past and future medical expenses that result from the injuries.
  • Past and future pain and suffering (physical and mental) caused by the injuries and the treatment and recovery process.
  • Past and future wage loss.
  • Past and future loss of earning capacity.
  • Past and future loss of enjoyment of life.
  • Punitive damages, if appropriate.

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