Lawsuits are being filed in state and federal courts across the country on behalf of people who suffered shingles, chickenpox, eye damage, vision loss, or blindness after receiving the Zostavax vaccine. In these lawsuits, the victims allege that Merck failed to warn them that getting the shingles vaccine could cause them to suffer severe and life-altering side effects and complications. They are seeking compensation for the injuries they suffered.

Our law firm has built a solid reputation for being fierce advocates of people who are harmed by the products on which they depend. People who received the Zostavax shingles vaccine only to be diagnosed with shingles or a severe adverse event within a year of being injected have rights, and we defend those rights. We can help you seek justice and ensure you get maximum compensation for your injuries.

What’s Happening?

In the late 1700s, a European medical student realized that milkmaids who had been infected by cowpox did not seem susceptible to smallpox. With that in mind, the man scratched a very small amount of cowpox under a young boy’s skin. Approximately six weeks later, the aspiring physician scratch a small amount of the smallpox virus under the boy’s skin, and though the boy developed a small blister at the scratch, he did not develop smallpox. This development significantly reduced the spread of smallpox and  began the history of disease eradication through inoculation.

Unfortunately, some vaccines have been associated with complications that may be more severe than the conditions they were designed to protect against. For instance, some patients who were vaccinated with Zostavax against shingles have developed serious and life-changing complications that have severely impacted their lives and the lives of their family members.

Many people who were diagnosed with a serious condition after receiving the Zostavax injection are accusing the manufacturer of making, marketing, and selling a dangerous product that may not only cause shingles, it may also cause recipients to suffer severe eye damage that can lead to vision degradation and permanent blindness.

Were you diagnosed with shingles, eye damage, or another serious adverse event after being vaccinated against shingles with the Zostavax vaccine? If you were vaccinated between 2006 and 2017 and you were diagnosed with any of the adverse events listed on this page within a year of being injected, contact us now. You may be entitled to significant compensation for your injuries.

Reported Complications and Adverse Events

Among the thousands of reports of Zostavax adverse events are injuries such as corneal inflammation, activation of the shingles virus, retinitis, blindness, stroke, and inflammation of the spinal cord. In fact, the National Vaccine Information Center has  published more than 36,000 adverse event reports that involve Zostavax on their website.

Were you diagnosed with any of the following adverse events that have been associated with the Zostavax shingles vaccine? Some of these injuries include:

  • Shingles/herpes zoster (HZ)
  • Postherpetic neuralgia (PHN)
  • Herpes Zoster Keratitis / Herpes Zoster Ophthalmicus (shingles in the eye)
  • Acute Retinal Necrosis (inflammation of the eye)
  • Retinal Uveitis/ Herpetic uveitis (intraocular inflammation)
  • Corneal Band Keratopathy
  • Bell’s Palsy (paralysis of the facial nerve on one side of the face)
  • Acute Myelitis (inflammation of the matter in the spinal cord)
  • Encephalitis (swelling of the brain)
  • Immune thrombocytopenic purpura (ITP) (platelet disorder)
  • Thrombocytopenia (deficiency of platelets)
  • Meningitis (inflammation of the covering of the brain and spinal cord)
  • Ramsay Hunt Syndrome/ Herpes zoster oticus (shingles in the facial nerve near the ear)

Other severe adverse events have also been associated with the vaccine, including:

  • Blindness
  • Chickenpox
  • Encephalitis
  • Hearing loss
  • Spinal Cord Inflammation
  • Stroke
  • Vasculitis
  • Vision loss

Anyone who was diagnosed with one of these conditions within one year of receiving the Zostavax vaccine may be eligible for financial compensation for their injuries. If you received the injection before 2017 and were diagnosed with one of these serious conditions, contact us today to learn more about your rights and whether you can seek compensation.

Is the Shingles Vaccine Worth the Risks?

Zostavax was approved by the FDA in 2006 for use in individuals over 60 years of age. Five years later, the FDA expanded its approval for use in people over age 50 to prevent or reduce shingles infections. However, the vaccine contains a small amount of the herpes virus, the same type of virus that causes shingles and chickenpox, so it cannot be given to people who have not had chickenpox, children, or to people who have weakened immune systems.

But be aware: some people have reportedly broken out in shingles after being injected with Zostavax. If you developed shingles within three months of receiving the Zostavax injection, you might be entitled to compensation.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Zostavax may reduce a patient’s risk of shingles by 51 percent. The vaccine may also reduce the risk of an extremely painful condition called postherpetic neuralgia by as much as 67 percent. This type of neuralgia affects the nerves in the areas where shingles flared up and causes them to remain super sensitive.

Yet as effective as the vaccine may be, the U.S. government no longer recommends Zostavax, preferring its competitor Shingrix instead. And adverse event counts continue to grow as more people discover their vision problems and eye damage may be associated with the vaccine they received. The NVIC continues to publish new reports, adding more to the over three thousand pages of adverse event reports the organization has already published.

Some of the adverse event reports involving Zostavax published by the group lists concerning injuries such as serious reactions, patients being hospitalized, and patients going blind. Some of these victims are seeking justice from Merck and accuse the company of failing to adequately warn them of the risks of suffering a shingles outbreak, eye damage, vision loss, and blindness from the vaccine.

Zostavax Vision Loss and Blindness

Zostavax is a single dose injection that contains the same live herpes virus that has been associated with eye and vision damage such as necrotizing retinitis. This is a serious condition in which the eye becomes inflamed leading to vision problems and light sensitivity. If medical attention is not sought quickly, necrotizing retinitis can lead to permanent blindness. Unfortunately, some patients have lost their site within weeks of being injected.

Researchers discussed this topic in an article published in JAMA Ophthalmology.  The article reviewed two cases in which people suffered acute necrotizing retinitis after receiving Zostavax. In the first case, the patient suffered blindness within two months of receiving the vaccination. In the other case, the patient lost their sight within a week of injection. Another article published in the journal reviewed the case of a person whose corneal inflammation (keratitis) severely worsened within four weeks of being vaccinated with Zostavax.

The journal Cornea published an article in which researchers reviewed the case of a person who suffered the reactivation of keratitis after receiving Zostavax. Researchers in these articles urged caution when recommending or considering being vaccinated against shingles with the Zostavax vaccine.

Warning for Eye Damage

Even though researchers had been publishing studies showing the association between the vaccine and eye damage, vision degradation, and permanent blindness, Merck did not warn of these risks on the label of Zostavax until 2016, a decade after it was released on the market. The label was updated to warn that patients who get the vaccine may develop acute necrotizing retinitis, but this did nothing to help all the people who got the vaccine and developed the condition in the ten years prior. Some of the people who suffered eye damage are seeking answers. They want to know when Merck first knew or should have known about the risks and why they were not warned prior to being inoculated.

People who received the injection became even more concerned when they learned that they might pass the herpes virus to others. The Journal of Infectious Diseases published a study in which injection site swabs and saliva samples were collected from 36 Zostavax recipients over 28 days. The results of the study found that the virus could remain active for nearly a month. In fact, the virus remained live in the saliva of 21 patients and remained live at the injection site of 18 patients the whole time. When the virus stays live for such a long time, it increases the odds of being transmitted to someone else.

Who May Be Entitled to Compensation?

Any person who was injected with Zostavax between 2006 and 2017 may be entitled to seek compensation if they:

  • Were diagnosed with shingles within three months of the injection, or
  • Were diagnosed with any of the adverse events listed on this page within a year of being injected.

We are investigating claims from across the country on behalf of people who suffered these injuries and who may continue to suffer complications of Zostavax for the rest of their lives. Dozens of lawsuits have been filed on behalf of victims in state and federal courts across the nation. Because of the number of lawsuits that have been filed and are expected to be filed in the near future, Merck has asked the courts to consolidate the case to multidistrict litigation.

If you want to seek justice for eye damage, vision loss, or blindness or because you developed shingles after being injected with the shingles vaccine Zostavax, contact us now. We have been fighting for the rights of people harmed by the products that were supposed to help for decades, and we will fight for you. Contact us today to learn more about Zostavax adverse events, your rights by law, and whether you are eligible to seek compensation for the injuries you have suffered.

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