The shingles vaccine Zostavax contains live virus. In rare cases, it actually causes shingles or chickenpox. Many victims are left with chronic pain or blindness, especially older adults. Furthermore, Zostavax only works about half the time.
Do I have a Zostavax Class Action Lawsuit? If you or a loved one developed serious side effects of shingles, contact our law firm immediately for a free case consultation. If you file a lawsuit, you could receive compensation for your injury, medical expenses, and more.
What is Zostavax?
Zostavax is the only shingles vaccine on the market that contains a live virus. It is manufactured by Merck & Co. and was approved by the FDA in 2006. It is approved for adults over 50 years old, but is most effective in patients between 60 and 69 years old.
Zostavax Contains Live Virus
Zostavax contains live herpes zoster virus, the same virus that causes chickenpox (varicella). Zostavax is a “live attenuated virus,” which means the virus has been weakened, but it is still 14X stronger than the chickenpox vaccine for children.
Chickenpox Virus Causes Shingles
If you had chickenpox as a child, you now have the herpes zoster virus (HSV) in your body forever. It stays hidden for years or even decades before re-activating. When it returns, instead of causing chickenpox, it causes shingles.
What is Shingles?
Shingles is an extremely painful skin rash with blisters. It can cause permanent health problems. About 1 in 3 people in the United States will develop shingles in their lifetime. The rate of infections increased 39% between 1992 and 2010 — possibly due to widespread chickenpox vaccination programs in children in the 1990s, but no one knows for sure.
Can Zostavax Cause Shingles?
Most people who get Zostavax have no serious problems. But in rare cases, Zostavax actually causes shingles — the exact diseases it is supposed to prevent — or chickenpox. These infections can have devastating complications, especially in older adults. They are more likely in people with vulnerable immune systems.
Zostavax Only 50% Effective At Preventing Shingles
Zostavax is not cheap at over $200 a shot, and it only works in about half of patients. In clinical trials, shingles occurred in 1.7% of Zostavax patients, vs. 3.3% of unvaccinated patients. That means Zostavax only reduced the risk of shingles by 51.3%.
Merck Strengthens Warnings that Zostavax Causes Shingles
In August 2014, the FDA ordered Merck to add “shingles” to the list of possible side effects from Zostavax. The label was also updated with stronger warnings about “infections and infestations” with the vaccine strain of herpes zoster virus.
Health Risks When Zostavax Causes Shingles
- Chronic pain
- Postherpetic Neuralgia (PHN)
- Hearing loss
- Vision loss
- Varicella pneumonia (lung infection)
- Brain inflammation (encephalitis)
- Guillain-Barré Syndrome
- Acute Disseminated Encephalomyelitis (ADEM)
- Heart problems
Severe Complications of Shingles and Chickenpox
Shingles on your face can cause deafness and blindness. After the rash is gone, about 20% of people are left with chronic pain. In rare cases, shingles causes other devastating complications — or even death. For example, studies have found a tripled increased risk of stroke in the weeks after an outbreak.
Shingles Vaccine and Blindness
Permanent blindness is a rare but devastating side effect of Zostavax. It occurs when the herpes virus infects the eyes, causing inflammation and progressive vision loss. In February 2016, the FDA ordered Merck to strengthen warnings about necrotizing retinitis in immunocompromised patients.
What is the problem?
Schmidt & Clark, LLP is nationally recognized as a class action law firm, but we are not filing a Zostavax class action for people who were injured. Instead, we are filing individual lawsuits against Merck & Co. for failing to warn about Zostavax side effects.
About Class Actions
Class actions are typically filed by an individual on behalf of a much larger group of people with the same legal claim. This improves efficiency, but it is not designed to maximize compensation for individuals with the most severe injuries. If compensation is awarded, everyone in the class action shares the payout equally.
Why Our Law Firm is Filing Individual Lawsuits as Opposed to a Class Action
Class actions can have disadvantages when a small number of people experience severe side effects from a dangerous medication. Members may have to accept a “low-ball” settlement or higher attorneys’ fees. Very few consumer class actions go to trial.
Our lawyers help people who were injured by vaccines file lawsuits against pharmaceutical companies. If you developed shingles or chickenpox after receiving Zostavax, you could be entitled to compensation for your pain and suffering, medical expenses, permanent injuries, lost income, and more.
What About the Vaccine Injury Compensation Program?
Zostavax is only for adults over 50 years old. Because it is not a routine childhood vaccine, people who were injured cannot seek compensation through the Vaccine Injury Compensation Program (VICP). Instead, they must file individual lawsuits against Merck & Co.
Do I have a Zostavax Lawsuit?
The Vaccine Injury Litigation Group at our law firm is an experienced team of trial lawyers that focus on the representation of plaintiffs. We are handling individual litigation nationwide and currently accepting new cases in all 50 states.
Free Zostavax Lawsuit Evaluation: Again, if you or a loved one was diagnosed with a serious side effect, you should contact our law firm immediately. You may be entitled to compensation by filing a lawsuit, and our lawyers can help.
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