Lawsuits against Merck Pharmaceuticals are mounting as more people come forward with accusations that the Zostavax vaccine, the Merck shingles vaccine, led to serious, life-altering injuries. The vaccine uses a live, weakened form of the chickenpox and shingles virus. Patients allege developing headaches, dizziness and blurred vision within hours of receiving the vaccine. Additionally, patients have been diagnosed with a number of permanent diseases and disorders after receiving the vaccine. If you suffered an injury after receiving the Merck shingles vaccine, contact a qualified Zostavax lawsuit attorney to discuss your options.
The Carlson Law Firm has more than 40 years representing clients injured by dangerous drugs. We are a nationally-recognized personal injury law firm who believes that one-lone voice against the powerful drug industry can make a difference. Our team of Mass Torts attorneys understand the significance of your injuries and want to magnify your voice to tell your story. Contact our qualified and dedicated to discuss your Zostavax lawsuit.
What is Zostavax?
Because of the devastating effects of shingles, Merck took the opportunity to introduce a shingles vaccine. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration approved Zostavax in 2006 to prevent herpes zoster (shingles) in adults 60 years and older. It is a live, single shot vaccine for adults 50 and older. Patients usually receive the vaccine through injection in the upper arm. The vaccine’s purpose was intended to help boost the immune system in older adults to protect against shingles. It is basically a larger-than-normal dose of the chickenpox vaccine. This is because the varicella-zoster virus is responsible for both chickenpox and shingles.
Between 2006 to 2017, Merck distributed 36 million doses of Zostavax and earned the company approximately $685 million a year. The vaccine does not treat shingles or the nerve pain that may follow an outbreak.
If you received the Zostavax vaccine and experienced serious adverse side effects, contact our firm. We have qualified Zostavax lawsuit attorney who can help you recoup the compensation you deserve.
What are the possible side effects of the Merck Shingles Vaccine?
Like any medicine, vaccines cause serious problems, including severe allergic reactions. Mild side effects of the Merck shingles vaccine include:
- Redness, soreness, swelling or itching at the site of the injections (occurs in 1 in 3 people)
- Headache (1 in 70 people)
If you received the Merck shingles vaccine, contact a qualified Zostavax lawsuit attorney. The Carlson Law Firm can help you navigate the legal system to get the compensation you deserve.
What Are the Serious Side Effects of Zostavax?
There are several problems with the Merck shingles vaccine. For example, Zostavax does not protect everyone from shingles. Additionally, there are concerns that the efficacy of the vaccine wanes within the first five years after the vaccination. Further, protection beyond five years is uncertain.
There is also a chance that those who receive the vaccination may get the illness that the vaccine is intended to prevent. Health complications include:
- Autoimmune disorders, including Guillain-Barre syndrome, Chronic Inflammatory Demyelinating Polyneuropathy, Meniere’s Disease
- Bell’s Palsy (facial paralysis)
- Cardiovascular events
- Congestive heart failure
- Hearing loss
- Herpetic Neuralgia (disorder in the nerves)
- Myelitis (spinal cord inflammation)
- Postherpetic neuralgia, or PHN (pain continuing after shingles blister subside)
- Serious neurological disease or disorders, including brain inflammation (encephalitis)
- Vision problems, including blindness, eye infections, retinal damage, acute retinal necrosis
In addition, a study conducted by the University of Missouri School of Medicine found the chickenpox and shingles vaccine may lead to corneal inflammation in some patients.
If you or a loved one experienced any of these serious conditions, contact a qualified Zostavax lawsuit attorney. We can help you prove that your injuries are the result of Merck’s dangerous product.
Does the CDC Recommend Zostavax?
The CDC only recommends Zostavax if a person is allergic to the ingredients in the alternative herpes zoster vaccine. This is, in part, because the vaccine is only 50 percent effective at preventing shingles. Until 2017, Zostavax was the only shingles vaccine available. However, in 2017, GlaxoSmithKline introduced Shringrix—currently the CDC’s preferred shingles vaccine.
Shringrix vs. Zostavax
While the intent to treat the same thing, these two vaccines differ in significant ways. For starters, Shringrix is 98 percent effective against shingles in adults between the ages of 50-69. Additionally, the drug is 91 percent effective against post-herpetic neuralgia in people 50 and older. In comparison, Zostavax is only 51 percent effective against shingles and 67 percent effective against post-herpetic neuralgia.
As noted above, Zostavax uses a live but weakened form of the entire herpes zoster virus. On the other hand, Shingrix uses a non-live piece of the virus, also called a sub-unit vaccine, which reduces the possibility of an adverse reaction. According to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, sub-unit vaccines can be safely used on most people with weakened immune systems and long-term health problems.
Still, the CDC recommends that people who are allergic to Shringrix receive the Merck shingles vaccine. Those 60 years of age or older should get the chickenpox and shingles vaccine whether or not they recall having chickenpox as a child.
The CDC recommends that healthcare provider consider whether patients 50-59 have poor tolerance to zoster or post-herpetic neuralgia symptoms. For example, the agency doesn’t recommend the shingles vaccine if the patient has:
- Preexisting chronic pain
- Severe depression
- Any co-morbidity
- Intolerance to treatment medication due to hypersensitivity with other medications
- Extenuating employment-related factors
Currently, Zostavax is not apart of the Vaccine Injury Compensation Program (VICP). However, you may still be eligible for compensation for Zostavax injuries through filing a lawsuit against Merck. Contact a Zostavax lawsuit attorney to discuss your options.
What are the accusations against Merck?
Zostavax lawsuits have been filed all over the country. In early 2018, Merck requested that the growing number of lawsuits be consolidated into Multi-District Litigation. The number of lawsuits against Merck is expected to grow by the thousands.
Current pending lawsuits allege that Merck is guilty of the following:
- The company failed to warn patients about potential Zostavax side effects.
- Zostavax serious side effects, including death.
- Merck lied about the safety and effectiveness of Zostavax.
- The company continued to sell its shingles vaccine even though it knew it could severely injure people.
- Zostavax is a faulty vaccine.
- Falsely saying the vaccine does not cause shingles.
Although Zostax claims are in the early stages there are no examples of settlements and verdicts. However, The Carlson Law Firm has a qualified Zostavax lawsuit attorney that can help you determine if you qualify for compensation from Merck.
If you were given the Merck shingles vaccine, contact us today to speak with a qualified Zostavax lawsuit attorney.
What is Shingles?
Shingles is a common illness and strikes about one million Americans every year, most of whom are over 60. The illness is caused by varicella-zoster, the same virus responsible for chickenpox. Shingles typically manifests as a painful rash that occurs in a single, wide stripe either side of the body or face. People are typically infected with chickenpox as children, however, years or decades later, the virus can reactivate and cause shingles. Anyone who had chickenpox is at risk of shingles.
As you age, your immune system weakens. Because of this, shingles is typically associated with the normal aging process. In addition, reactivation can occur from any event that weakens the immune system such as certain medications, cancer, HIV or other infections. However, research is showing that the condition can occur in healthy children and young adults.
If you were given the Merck Shingles Vaccine, contact a Zostavax lawsuit attorney to discuss your case.
Is shingles contagious?
Shingles is not contagious. However, if you’ve never had chickenpox, you can catch chickenpox from someone with shingles.
What are the symptoms of shingles?
As noted above, shingles typically develop on only one side of the body in a very small area. However, the most common place for shingles is a band that develops around one side of your waistline.
People with shingles experience the following symptoms:
- Burning, tingling or numbness of the skin
- Feeling sick with chills, fever, upset stomach or a headache
- Fluid-filled blisters
- Skin that is sensitive to touch
- Mild itching to strong pain
In addition, to these symptoms, if the shingles rash manifests on the face, a sufferer may develop vision loss.
For some people, the symptoms of shingles are mild. However, others experience more severe symptoms such as intense pain that can be felt from a gentle touch or breeze.
How long does a shingles outbreak last?
Most cases of shingles last for three to five weeks. Many people can anticipate a shingles outbreak to follow the following pattern:
- The first sign burning, tingling, numbness or itching on side of the body.
- Between one and five days after the onset of tingling or burning on the skin, a red rash will appear.
- Within a few days, the rash will turn into fluid-filled blisters.
- About a week to 10 days later, the blister will dry up and crust over.
- Within a few weeks, the scabs will clear up.
It is possible, but rare, to have shingles more than once. In the first couple of years after the initial outbreak, your chances of having shingles again are lower than it is for people who have never had an outbreak. However, over time, the chances of a second bout go up. Within seven years the chances of getting it again rise to almost 5 percent. Shingles is most likely to reoccur if you:
- Had severe pain that lasted more than 30 days
- Are a woman
- Were 50 or older when you had it the first time
- Have a weakened immune system from conditions like leukemia, lymphoma or HIV
- Take medication that suppresses your immune system
Complications of shingles: Post-Herpetic Neuralgia (PHN)
Poster-herpetic neuralgia is the severe pain associated with shingles. This is because after the rash fades, some people experience ongoing pain. The pain is typically felt in the area where the rash had been. For some people, this is the longest lasting and worst part of shingles. Unfortunately, the older you are when herpes zoster virus reactivates, the greater your chances are of developing PHN. Researchers estimate that approximately 1 in 5 patients with shingles will develop PHN.
The condition may lead an elderly person to experience depression, anxiety, insomnia, and weight loss. In fact, some people with PHN may find it difficult to go about their daily activities, like dressing, cooking or eating.
Other shingles complications
In addition to PHN, those who develop shingles are at risk of developing neurological disorders and brain inflammation. These conditions can lead to serious complications like stroke, facial paralysis, hearing or balance problems, and death. Complications from shingles include the following:
- Hearing problems
- brain inflammation (encephalitis)
- Chronic pain
- Congestive heart failure
- Guillain-Barre syndrome
- Acute Disseminated Encephalomyelitis (ADEM)
Can a Zostavax Lawsuit Attorney Help Me?
Because Zostavax is not a routine childhood vaccine, it does not fall under the federal Vaccine Injury Compensation Program. Instead, people who suffered a Zostavax vaccine injury will need to file a lawsuit. A Zostavax lawsuit attorney from The Carlson Law Firm can assist you in filing a lawsuit against Merck for its negligence.
If you or a loved one developed shingles between three weeks and 12 months of receiving Zostavax or were diagnosed with any of the following, contact a Zostavax lawsuit attorney at The Carlson Law Firm:
- Brain Inflammation (encephalitis)
- Spinal Cord Inflammation (myelitis)
- Autoimmune Disorder(s): Guillain-Barre, Meniere’s, Disease, Chronic Inflammatory Demyelinating Polyneuropathy
- Herpetic Neuralgia (nerve disorder)
- Heart attack/Stroke
- Congestive Heart Failure
- Bell’s Palsy (facial paralysis)
- Vision Complications: Blindness, Retinal Damage, Acute Retinal Necrosis
- Hearing Loss
Contact The Carlson Law Firm to find out how you can secure the compensation you deserve through a Zostavax lawsuit.
The Carlson Law Firm Can Help
If you or a loved one developed shingles or debilitating injuries after receiving the Zostavax, contact The Carlson Law Firm. Our firm has more than 40 years of experience assisting clients who were injured by dangerous drugs. Pharmaceutical companies are a powerful group, but we can help magnify your voice. We serve injured clients nationwide.
Contact us today to schedule a free, no-obligation consultation with a qualified Zostavax lawsuit attorney.
No appointment is required during normal business hours, and our bilingual staff members are available to assist our Spanish-speaking clients. Se habla español.