Zostavax Shingles Vaccine Lawsuit

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.

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?

  • 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

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.

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.

Side Effects Of Shingles:

  • 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.

Zostavax Lawsuits Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)


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.

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