Zostavax Shingles VaccineThe Zostavax vaccine was supposed to keep people over the age of 50 from getting shingles. Since 2006, millions of people have received Zostavax, but not all of them have avoided shingles and its complications.

Zostavax is a vaccine that is delivered in a single shot. The vaccine injects a weakened version of the live chicken pox virus into the body. Yet, Zostavax is only 51% effective in preventing shingles. Worse, the vaccine itself may cause shingles, blindness, and even death.

People injured by Zostavax are filing lawsuits. There is no class action against Merck, the maker of Zostavax, but people who developed shingles and other serious medical conditions from Zostavax are joining a multi-district lawsuit to pursue their fair financial recoveries. These plaintiffs are alleging that Merck knew from premarket studies that Zostavax could cause shingles and that Merck failed to adequately warn the public of this risk for many years.

Are You Experiencing Zostavax Side Effects?

If you experience any of the following side effects after a Zostavax vaccine, then it is important to see a doctor as soon as possible:

  • Pain
  • Rash
  • Headache
  • Burning, stinging, or itching
  • Fever, chills, or body aches
  • Nausea

These are all symptoms of shingles. In most cases, a physician can diagnose shingles based on the appearance of your rash, which is often on one side of the torso or face and made up of fluid-filled blisters.

Shingles can result in serious complications such as:

  • Postherpetic Neuralgia (PHN). The shingles rash may go away, but the pain in the area of the rash may persist. Sometimes, the pain can continue for years. It is thought that PHN occurs when the nerves underneath the rash site are damaged. PHN pain can be significant and lead to disability and depression. Postherpetic neuralgia is the most common side effect of shingles and may occur in as many as 25% of patients over the age of 60.
  • Ramsay Hunt Syndrome. People who experience the shingles rash on the face may develop Ramsay Hunt Syndrome. When the nerves underlying the rash are damaged, the facial muscles may be paralyzed, and a person may experience hearing loss, ringing in the ears, dizziness, and other complications.
  • Skin Infections. Bacterial infections may develop in the area of the shingles rash. Often, these infections are treatable with antibiotics.
  • Eye Problems. Herpes zoster opthalmicus is a shingles complication that affects the eyes and can result in blindness. People with the shingles rash around the eyes, on the nose, or the forehead are at risk.
  • Encephalitis. Encephalitis or inflammation around the brain is a relatively rare side effect of shingles, but it is a potentially deadly side effect of shingles. People with weakened immune systems are at greater risk of dying from encephalitis.
  • Disseminated herpes zoster. Like encephalitis, disseminated herpes zoster is relatively rare and potentially deadly. In people with disseminated herpes zoster, the shingles virus impacts not only the skin in the form of a rash but also other vital organs.

Your doctor will diagnose and recommend treatment for any side effects. However, treatment is not always effective. Shingles can result in a lifetime of disability or pain and, in the most extreme cases, shingles can result in death.

Find Out If You Have a Zostavax Injury Case

If you are diagnosed with shingles, suffer a shingles complication, or a loved one dies, then you should contact a Zostavax injury lawyer as soon as possible. We are currently evaluating individual Zostavax cases, and we are happy to review your claim for free if you received the Zostavax vaccine since 2006, and you were diagnosed with shingles within one year of your vaccine.

Contact us today to schedule your free case evaluation. If we take your case, then you will not owe us any fees until your claim is successfully resolved. Call us or fill out our online contact form now to learn more.

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John L. Keefe
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Founding Attorney, Massachusetts Social Security Disability Lawyer