Lawsuits filed against Merck Pharmaceuticals are growing as more consumers come forward with accusations that the singles vaccine Zostavax caused severe, life-impacting injuries. Plaintiffs have reported injuries ranging from shingles, nerve damages, hearing loss, and vision loss to nerve damage, postherpetic neuralgia, vertigo, strokes, heart attacks, and in some cases, death. If you suffered harm after receiving the Zostavax vaccine, contact a qualified Zostavax vaccine lawyer immediately to discuss your options.
A dedicated mass torts attorney understands the impact of your injuries and would fight hard to ensure your voice is heard.
What is Zostavax?
Shingles is a very painful rash caused by varicella-zoster, the same virus that causes chickenpox. In addition to the rash associated with shingles, numerous severe complications (particularly in older patients) could result, ranging from post-herpetic neuralgia, blindness, hearing problems, and pneumonia to congestive heart failure, encephalitis, and meningitis. To help prevent the potentially devastating impact of shingles, Merck introduced the Zostavax vaccine.
In 2006, the FDA approved Zostavax to prevent shingles in adults aged 60 years and older. The vaccine is a live, single shot for adults 50 and up, and patients typically are administered the injection in the upper arm. The purpose of the vaccine is to enhance older adults’ immune system to protect against shingles.
Because the varicella-zoster virus causes both chickenpox and shingles, Zostavax is essentially an increased dose of the chickenpox vaccine. However, the vaccine does not treat shingles or the nerve pain that could accompany an outbreak.
What Side Effects Could Result from Zostavax?
As is the case with any medicine, vaccines have the potential to cause side effects, including serious allergic reactions. Some mild side effects of Zostavax could include soreness, redness, itching, or swelling at the injection site, and headaches. In addition, there a number of other problems with the Merck shingles vaccine.
First, Zostavax does not necessarily protect everyone from shingles. Besides this, concerns have been raised that the vaccine’s efficacy reduces within the first five years following the vaccination, and protection after that five-year period is uncertain. It could also be possible for individuals who receive the Merck shingles vaccine to get the very illness that the vaccine is supposed to prevent, with health complications potentially including:
- Autoimmune disorders such as Chronic Inflammatory Demyelinating and Guillain-Barre syndrome
- Congestive heart failure and other cardiovascular events
- Hearing loss
- Myelitis (inflammation of the spinal cord)
- Serious neurological disorders
If someone who has received the Merck shingles vaccine experienced any of these serious health conditions, a qualified Zostavax attorney could help them seek fair and just compensation.
What Accusations Are Being Cited in the Zostavax Lawsuits?
With an increasing number of Zostavax lawsuits being filed across the country, in early 2018, Merck requested that these cases be consolidated into Multi-District Litigation, a procedure in which civil cases across the nation are transferred over to one court. The lawsuits allege that Merck & Co. sold a faulty vaccine which could cause severe side effects and injuries, including death.
Lawsuits further accuse Merck and Co. of a failure to warn patients about the possible side effects of Zostavax. According to these lawsuits, the company was dishonest regarding the vaccine’s efficacy and safety and continued to sell the product even though it knew or should have known the product could injure consumers.
How an Attorney Could Help
Due to the fact that Zostavax is not a standard childhood vaccine, it does not full into the federal Vaccine Injury Compensation Program, which means that individuals who suffer an injury from the vaccine would need to file a lawsuit. For the lawyer to pursue a successful outcome, the individual’s Zostavax vaccine claim must meet the following criteria:
- They received Zostavax in 2006 or after
- They were at least 50 years of age when injected with the vaccine
- Their injury occurred shortly after receiving the vaccine but not more than one year following injection
- They did not suffer from any preexisting conditions that could compromise their immunity, such as cancer, blood disorders, or HIV/AIDS
Speak with a Zostavax Vaccine Attorney Today
If you developed shingles or suffered other debilitating injuries after receiving the Merck shingles vaccine, contact a knowledgeable Zostavax lawyer today. Schedule your no-obligation consultation with Disparti Law Group to find out what legal options are available to you.