Zostavax Shingles Vaccine Lawsuit

Written By:
Jessie Paluch
Jessie Paluch

Attorney Jessie Paluch, founder of TruLaw, has over 25 years of experience as a personal injury and mass tort attorney, and previously worked as an international tax attorney at Deloitte. Jessie collaborates with attorneys nationwide — enabling her to share reliable, up-to-date legal information with our readers.

This article has been written and reviewed for legal accuracy and clarity by the team of writers and legal experts at TruLaw and is as accurate as possible. This content should not be taken as legal advice from an attorney. If you would like to learn more about our owner and experienced injury lawyer, Jessie Paluch, you can do so here.

TruLaw does everything possible to make sure the information in this article is up to date and accurate. If you need specific legal advice about your case, contact us by using the chat on the bottom of this page. This article should not be taken as advice from an attorney.

Zostavax Shingles Vaccine Lawsuit Overview


Zostovax lawsuits allege that Merck, the maker of the vaccine, failed to warn the public that Zostavax could cause serious side effects.

A few of these include blindness, total hearing loss, and even shingles – the very virus it was created to prevent.

Table of Contents

What Is Zostovax?

Zostovax is a vaccine designed to reduce the risk of contracting shingles for people 50 years or older – when the virus is most commonly contracted.

It was approved by the FDA in 2006.

Zostavax contains the live varicella zoster virus, which is the same as the chickenpox virus known to cause shingles.

The live and weakened form of the shingles virus is used in order to activate the immune system.

After fighting this weakened version of the virus, the body builds immunity.

There is always a risk with vaccines that use a live form of the virus because if the form is not weakened enough — it will expose the person to the very thing they are attempting to protect themselves from.

Zostavax shingles vaccine lawsuits allege that this live or “attenuated” version of the virus was too potent for certain people causing them to develop shingles instead of fight against it.

Reportedly, Zostavax only works about 51% of the time and lasts six years.

Until 2017, it was the only FDA approved shingles vaccine in the United States.

What Are The Side Effects Of Zostavax?

There have been over 100,000 Zostavax adverse events reported to the FDA as of March of 2018.

In August 2014, the FDA ordered Merck to add shingles to the list of Zostavax side effects.

The side effects of Zostavax include, but are not limited to:

  • Shingles
  • Autoimmune diseases
  • Blindness/vision loss (one or both eyes)
  • Keratitis (inflammation of the cornea)
  • Acute retinal necrosis (viral infection of the eye)
  • Post Herpetic Neuralgia (nerve pain)
  • Eye infections
  • Hearing loss
  • Brain damage
  • Retinal damage
  • Paralysis
  • Congestive heart failure
  • Death

What Is Shingles?

Shingles (herpes zoster) is a viral infection that creates inflammation in your nervous system causing a really painful skin rash that appears on one side (usually in the middle) of your body.

The rash can last up to 30 days and in some cases will cause nerve pain that lasts months — and sometimes even years.

The virus lays dormant in the body of anyone who has ever had chickenpox.

Elderly people are 3 to 7 times more likely to get shingles than the rest of the population.

The side effects of Shingles include, but are not limited to:

  • Encephalitis (acute inflammation of the brain)
  • Acute disseminated encephalomyelitis (ADEM)
  • Hemiparesis (weakness on one side of the body)
  • Meningitis
  • Neuropathic pain
  • Stroke

Can I File A Zostavax Lawsuit?

Court documents have come to light alleging that Merck changed results in some of the vaccine’s clinical trials because it was falling below the 95% efficiency requirement needed in order for it to be sold to the public.

The company knowingly misrepresented the safety and efficacy of Zostavax.

If you file a lawsuit against Merck you will be helping to hold them accountable for negligence and not warning the public soon enough about the serious injuries their vaccine could cause.

Lawsuit compensation can help with medical bills, lost wages, and, of course, pain and suffering.

Unfortunately, anyone injured by Zostavax cannot seek compensation through the  National Vaccine Injury Compensation Program.

This was set up only for individuals injured by childhood vaccines.

If you, or anyone you love, has suffered an injury after receiving the Zostavax shingles vaccine fill out the form on this page so we can get you in touch with an experienced vaccine lawyer to go over your legal options.

Frequently Asked Questions

  • Can I File a Zostavax Class Action Lawsuit?

    Zostavax cases will not be filed as part of a class action.

    These individual cases, commonly called “mass torts”, have been grouped together so the attorneys and judge can address common procedural issues — saving time for the injured parties.

    A mass tort involves numerous plaintiffs against one or a few corporate defendants in state or federal court.

    Class actions are mass torts generally used on financial losses and multidistrict litigations (MDL) are generally used on personal injury claims — often in product liability cases.

    An MDL is a procedural tool used when parties have suffered injuries from products manufactured by the same defendant.

    On August 2, 2018, a judicial panel on Multidistrict Litigation consolidated Zostavax MDL 2848 in the Eastern District Court of Pennsylvania in front of Judge Harvey Bartle III.

    Bartle has been hearing one of the first cases since 2016.

Written By:
Jessie Paluch
Jessie Paluch

Experienced Attorney & Legal SaaS CEO

With over 25 years of legal experience, Jessie is an Illinois lawyer, a CPA, and a mother of three.  She spent the first decade of her career working as an international tax attorney at Deloitte.

In 2009, Jessie co-founded her own law firm with her husband – which has scaled to over 30 employees since its conception.

In 2016, Jessie founded TruLaw, which allows her to collaborate with attorneys and legal experts across the United States on a daily basis. This hypervaluable network of experts is what enables her to share reliable legal information with her readers!

Camp Lejeune Lawsuit

Camp Lejeune’s water contamination issue spanned several decades starting in the 1950s. Exposure to these chemicals has been linked to various serious health issues, including cancer, organ diseases, and death.

Tylenol Lawsuit

Research is increasingly suggesting a link between the use of Tylenol during pregnancy and the development of neurodevelopmental disorders, such as autism and ADHD, in infants.

AFFF Lawsuit

Legal action is being taken against manufacturers of Aqueous Film-Forming Foam (AFFF), a chemical used in fighting fires. The plaintiffs allege that exposure to the foam caused health issues such as cancer, organ damage, and birth and fertility issues.

Do You
Have A Case?

Here, at TruLaw, we’re committed to helping victims get the justice they deserve.

Alongside our partner law firms, we have successfully collected over $3 Billion in verdicts and settlements on behalf of injured individuals.

Would you like our help?

Helpful Sites & Resources