Merck’s Zostavax is a shingles vaccine for people age 50 and older. According to The National Vaccine Information Center (NVIC), Merck’s product is the only live virus shingle vaccine currently available. The CDC recommends that adults 60 and older receive a dose of the vaccine.
The vaccine contains live varicella zoster virus – the chickenpox virus that also causes shingles. Once a person has had chickenpox, the virus remains dormant in their body. Later in life, if the immune system becomes weakened, the virus can reactivate to cause shingles. Zostavax, according to Merck, contains a “weakened” or “attenuated” form of the virus, which stimulates the immune system in an effort to keep the virus dormant and prevent shingles.
What is the Problem With These Shingles Vaccinations?
Let’s start with the report that Zostavax’s effectiveness in preventing shingles is reported to be about 51 percent. In addition, it’s likely that the vaccination causes the very disease it is intended to prevent – shingles – as well as chickenpox. The vaccination warnings regarding these outcomes may be insufficient to adequately alert patients, including some of the most vulnerable in our communities, of the risks.
There is some indication that the vaccination is linked to death. NCIV analysis indicates that there were more than 1,100 serious adverse events reports made to the Vaccine Adverse Events Reporting System from 1990 until September 2015 related to shingles-containing vaccinations. Of these reports, 90 were for deaths associated with the shingles vaccine.
Both chickenpox and shingles may result in serious damage to the nervous system including conditions like meningitis, encephalitis, acute disseminated encephalomyelitis (ADEM) and stroke. Some people who develop shingles have serious side effects, such as Guillain-Barre syndrome, congestive heart failure, or varicella pneumonia.
Signs and Symptoms of Shingles
Shingles is characterized by a painful skin rash. Usually, the disease first manifests by a pain that tingles or burns at a single site on one side of the body. A rash typically appears after a few days and may even blister. The rash can last for up to thirty days.
Shingles is mainly a disease of the elderly, but younger people can also get it. One out of every five people who get shingles end up with nerve pain that can last months, and even years.
Lawsuits filed in state and federal courts in Pennsylvania allege that Zostavax caused serious side effects, including blindness, paralysis, brain damage and death. Additionally, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has issued two black box warning changes to Zostavax labels over concerns of the development of chickenpox and shingles, the virus targeted by the vaccine. In 2016, the FDA expanded the vaccine’s warnings to include the potential side effect of vision damage caused by necrotizing retinitis, or inflammation of the eye, that may lead to blindness in some cases.
Solberg Stewart Miller is a law firm that brings claims against drug manufacturers who market “dangerous drugs”. Our law firm does not represent the manufacturers of Zostavax but rather is investigating potential lawsuits against Zostavax drugs in North Dakota and Minnesota.
For more information on Invokana lawsuits contact Todd Miller at firstname.lastname@example.org or call 1.877.237.3166 (toll free) or 237.3166 (Fargo).