Zostavax Side Effects

Zostavax Side Effects
The Zostavax vaccine may cause shingles, the very disease it is intended to prevent. Other Zostavax side effects may include eye disorders and chickenpox.

Were You Injured by Zostavax? Contact an Attorney Today.

Victims of side effects and complications allegedly related to the Zostavax shingles vaccine may be entitled to take legal action against Merck & Co. If you would like to discuss a case with a qualified attorney, please contact Bernstein Liebhard LLP by calling (888) 994-5118.

Zostavax and Shingles

Zostavax is the only shingles vaccine approved for use in the U.S. It is made with a weakened version of varicella zoster, the virus that causes both chickenpox and shingles. Once a person recovers from chickenpox, the varicella zoster virus becomes dormant. Later in life, it may reactivate, resulting in shingles.

Exposure to the weakened, live virus in Zostavax is supposed to help a patient develop immunity to the disease. However, even Merck & Co. admits that Zostavax only reduces the risk of shingles by about 51%. In August 2014, the vaccine’s label was even updated to include shingles as a possible a Zostavax side effect. This painful disease can cause other devastating complications, including:

  • Pneumonia
  • Hearing loss
  • Blindness
  • Encephalitis
  • Chronic nerve pain
  • Congestive heart failure
  • Guillain-Barré Syndrome
  • Acute Disseminated Encephalomyelitis (ADEM)
  • Meningitis
  • Stroke
  • Death

Some studies have linked Zostavax exposure to chickenpox.  Individuals who develop chickenpox as adults are more likely to experience dangerous complications, including:

  • Joint infections
  • Toxic shock syndrome
  • Pneumonia
  • Sepsis
  • Bleeding problems
  • Encephalitis, cerebellar ataxia and other brain infections/disorders
  • Bone infection
  • Death

Zostavax and Eye Disorders

In January 2016, researchers presenting at the American Academy of Ophthalmology reported on 20 cases of keratitis among adults and children receiving a chickenpox or shingles vaccine. Symptoms of the disorder developed within 24 days of vaccination among adults, while children began to exhibit problems within 14 days. Keratitis describes an inflammation of the cornea that can permanently damage vision if left untreated. While these findings can’t be considered proof of a connection between Zostavax and keratitis, the study’s authors advised that patients with a history of the disorder be closely monitored following vaccination.

In February 2016, the Zostavax label was modified to note reports of “Eye Disorders: necrotizing retinitis (patients on immunosuppressive therapy)”.

Adverse Events and Deaths Reported Among Patients Receiving Shingles Vaccines

According to the National Vaccine Information Center, shingles vaccines were cited in 1,141 reports made to the Vaccine Adverse Events Reporting System between 1990 and September 1, 2015. More than a 1/3 of those adverse events occurred in seniors 65-75 years of age. The reports included 90 deaths, with 40% of the deaths occurring in seniors over 70 years of age.

Legal Help for Those Harmed by Zostavax

The nationwide law firm of Bernstein Liebhard LLP is now offering free legal reviews to individuals who may have experienced serious Zostavax side effects. To learn more about the legal options available to you, please call (888) 994-5118.

Last Modified: May 2, 2017

Get the latest news and litigation updates about this case by following us on Facebook. Click the "Like" button below.


Follow Us

RXInjuryHelp.com on Google+  RXInjuryHelp.com on Facebook  RXInjuryHelp.com on LinkedIn  RXInjuryHelp.com on Twitter  RXInjuryHelp.com on YouTube  RXInjuryHelp.com on Pinterest

Skip to content