Zostavax Lawsuit Updates 2024 – The Hideous Truth

by | Mar 13, 2024 | Product Liability

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Merck hasn’t sold or produced Zostavax in the US since 2020, but that’s not ending the lawsuits. Numerous lawsuits alleging adverse effects of the shingles vaccination, problems with its efficacy, and complaints about its marketing and advertising are still pending in courts around the nation.

This blog discusses the Zostavax adverse effects, the Zostavax vaccine lawsuit, the Merck Zostavax lawsuits 2024, and the Zostavax lawsuit settlements.

What are shingles?

The varicella-zoster virus is the main cause of shingles. The virus responsible for chickenpox is the same. In the entire country, there are thought to be 1 million or more shingle cases every year. Shingles can affect people of all ages, and the risk increases with age.

The first symptom of shingles is an itching or flaming sensation in a specific area of ​​the skin. A few days later, rashes may appear and blisters may emerge. An outbreak can last up to a month. However, in about 20% of cases, patients may experience nerve pain for months or years.  Can you die from shingles? Shingles can cause extreme pain, and shingles death is rare.

Is there a vaccine for shingles? Yes. But the vaccine is in the middle of lawsuits. Let’s discuss the issue in detail.

What is Zostavax vaccine?

The Zostavax vaccine is used to prevent shingles for individuals aged 50 years and older. Is shingles vaccine a live virus? The shingle shot uses a live, weakened form of chickenpox and shingles viruses. Is Zostavax a single dose? It requires a single shot. The Zostavax shingles vaccine’s main goal was to boost the immune systems of older adults to protect them against shingles.

The shingles vaccine manufacturer is Merck, and the vaccine was approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration in 2006. It was the only shingles vaccine approved in the United States until the end of 2017.

What are the requirements recommended by the FDA?

At first, the FDA recommended the vaccine for anyone over 60 who did not have severe allergies to any of its constituents and who complied with the following conditions:

  • Do not have a compromised immune system as a result of HIV/AIDS, another disease, or medication.
  • No history of cancer affecting the bone marrow or lymphatic system, such as leukemia.
  • Do not have untreated active Tuberculosis.

Since more than 99% of Americans aged 40 and over have experienced chickenpox, the U.S. ACIP recommended in 2006 that the Zostavax live vaccine be administered to all individuals aged 60 and above, including those who have already experienced shingles and chickenpox.

Does Zostavax cause adverse side effects?

Is the shingles vaccine safe? Innumerable zostavax shingles vaccine side effects have been reported with recipients, including serious eye disorders, muscle pain, nausea, joint pain, fever, and shingles. The vaccine only works on 50% of people, and even then, it will only last for about six years.

What are the dangers of shingles vaccine? More severe complications also occur due to the Zostavax vaccine, including:

Despite the fact that shingles primarily affects adults in their 60s and older, the virus can reactivate in younger people with weakened immune systems. Those who had chickenpox before turning 18 months old are also more likely to develop shingles.

A highly contagious rash on one side of the body, along with a fever and pain, are just a few of the potentially catastrophic side effects of this vaccine. Other, much more severe shingles vaccine side effects can also occur. In fact, this virus can endanger the lives of even elderly people by inflicting lasting nerve damage, meningitis, blindness, paralysis, and even spinal cord inflammation.

The Zostavax vaccine exposes immunosuppressed patients to a number of health hazards, including the possibility of contracting chickenpox and shingles themselves.

Is Zostavax still in the market? Why was Zostavax discontinued? The percentage of serious complications was higher in the population that was administered the injection compared to those who received a placebo.

What are the issues associated with Zostavax?

A Wisconsin woman filed a Zostavax shingles lawsuit against Merck, claiming that the vaccination didn’t protect her from shingles as expected and instead gave her repeated shingles outbreaks.

A South Carolina man has filed a Zostavax side effects lawsuit against Merck shingles vaccine, alleging that he started losing sight in one eye two months after receiving the vaccine. The man was later identified with retinal necrosis or tissue decay in his retina.

Norman Sukkar, a litigant, alleges that Merck’s defective Zostavax vaccine was the main cause of his permanent Zostavax injury and that the vaccine poses a serious risk of bodily harm to consumers.

The Merck Zostavax shingles lawsuit claims that the shingles vaccine poses a high risk to individuals. Can you get shingles from the shingles vaccine? The Zostavax shingles vaccination mostly causes shingles and zoster-related injuries. So, the exact thing that was supposed to protect them from shingles actually gave them shingles.

In the last two years, there have been over 1,000 reports to the FDA of serious horrific events involving the Varicella Zoster virus vaccine, including reports of 36 deaths.

Merck faces shingles vaccine lawsuit

Is there a lawsuit against the shingles vaccine? Yes. Many victims filed Zostavax lawsuits against Merck, alleging that the vaccine manufacturer produced and sold a vaccine that was unreasonably dangerous and caused serious post-vaccination injuries.

Shingles vaccine lawsuits have been filed in federal and state courts nationwide against Merck & Co., Inc., the vaccine maker. This lawsuit against Zostavax claims that the vaccine causes serious and sometimes fatal side effects. They also allege that Merck failed to properly inform the public and healthcare providers about the risk of developing shingles and other negative effects of the vaccine.

The plaintiffs, who were residents of a number of different states, including Louisiana, South Carolina, Tennessee, Michigan, and Wisconsin, brought their Zostavax class action lawsuits in Merck’s home state of New Jersey. All around the nation, litigation over Zostavax has been filed.

Is Merck winning the goal in the Zostavax lawsuit at trial?

Since the first instance of a shingles vaccine class action lawsuit was filed in 2016, many more have been submitted. Case consolidation in federal court by a federal judicial panel resulted in the formation of multidistrict litigation for the Zostavax lawsuits. In 2019, Judge Harvey Bartle of the Eastern District of Pennsylvania is presiding over the Shingle vaccine lawsuit in the MDL.

Two categories were used to classify the cases. Cases in Group A would involve plaintiffs who developed shingles as a result of vaccination, while cases in Group B would involve plaintiffs who sustained injuries unrelated to shingles. These cases are known as “bellwethers,” which indicates that the verdict in one case will determine the course and standards for others.

According to shingles class action suit information, Zostavax didn’t prevent shingles; instead, it led the plaintiffs to contract a chronic strain of herpes zoster, which led to uncomfortable outbreaks, hospital visits, and, in two cases, post-herpetic neuralgia. The vaccine’s flawed design is one of the primary claims in the Zostavax lawsuits.

Judge Harvey Bartle of the U.S. District Court rejected Merck’s motion for summary judgment based on the statute of limitations. For example, when the plaintiff was well aware that receiving the Zostavax vaccination might have contributed to her developing shingles, Bartle claimed that certain questions in the case could only be decided by a jury.

How did Merck falsely promote the vaccine?

In national broadcast and magazine advertisements, Merck has been advising adults 50 and older to get protected against herpes zoster by getting vaccinated with Zostavax. Between 2006 and 2017, Merck delivered 36 million doses of Zostavax and received about $685 million annually.

According to the shingles shot lawsuit filed in September 2019, Merck claims the vaccine is 51% effective for everyone. Merck continues to dispute accusations made against them despite the anguish and suffering, the patients who received Zostavax have experienced.

In addition to shingle lawsuits asserting that Zostavax can result in severe injuries, the American health system is apparently moving away from promoting Zostavax in favor of a vaccination that is both safer and more effective. The Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices, which provides guidance to the CDC, began formally endorsing a new shingles vaccine over Zostavax in October 2017.

Merck sued over shingles vaccine

The Merck shingles vaccine lawsuit states that the company failed to reveal the full extent of the potential negative effects the vaccine could cause.

According to this Zostavax vaccination shingles complaint, Merck found the strain of the varicella-zoster virus was not weakened enough to prevent the reactivation of the virus. As a result, patients suffered from a mix of the active virus and the old virus, giving the shingles virus an even stronger defense.

Because Merck knew or should have known that the vaccine caused shingles infection, the shingles vaccine Zostavax lawsuits claim that Merck failed to use reasonable care in the design, labeling, testing, formulation, production, sale, marketing, and distribution of Zostavax.

Merck states that the company has consistently provided appropriate and timely information about Zostavax to consumers as well as the medical, scientific, and regulatory communities.

What happened in the Zostavax lawsuit 2021?

A plaintiff, John Destefano, was against Merck & Co. He asserted that the Merck vaccine, Zostavax, which was designed to lower the risk of shingles, caused him to develop shingles.

The Pennsylvania judge dismissed the plaintiff’s claims that the Zostavax vaccination he received led to the development of shingles eight years later, giving Merck a huge victory. Despite being compelled to give Merck a report, the plaintiff, John Destefano, never chose an expert to testify on his side.

Zostavax lawsuits 2022

The most recent information about the Zostavax lawsuit 2022 is that Rebecca Gentile’s class action against Merck & Co., Inc. over the shingles vaccine was dismissed by U.S. District Judge Graham on April 11, 2022. She was suing under the Ohio Consumer Sales Practices Act and the States’ Deceptive Trade Practices Act.

Gentile has alleged that the Zostavax vaccine is not equally effective for all age groups in preventing infection with the shingles virus and that the companies have not explicitly disclosed this.

However, Gentile says the vaccine’s usefulness is significantly reduced in older people. According to her, Zostavax was just 41% effective for people over the age of 70 and 18 % successful in treating people over the age of 80.

In the end, U.S. District Judge James Graham ruled that the plaintiff does not technically qualify as a consumer under Ohio law since the shot wasn’t bought directly from Merck. Therefore, she can’t file a consumer sales practice claim.

when will the Zostavax lawsuit be settled? The cases continue despite Merck not selling Zostavax in the US since 2020. In national courts, thousands of lawsuits alleging Zostavax side effects, effectiveness problems, and advertising and marketing objections are still pending.

In December 2022, a Pennsylvania Federal judge dismissed 1,189 cases against the Zostavax vaccine, but some cases are still pending. Merck has to face claims like hearing loss, autoimmune diseases, and others. Judge Harvey Bartle of the U.S. District Court determined that the plaintiffs had four years to present proof that their cases of shingles were brought on by the vaccine and not by a reactivated shingles virus.

Zostavax lawsuit updates 2023

Update on Zostavax lawsuit – May 2023

Plaintiffs are appealing the dismissal of 1,200 Zostavax lawsuits, arguing Judge Harvey Bartle III’s ruling for Merck was unjust. The judge demanded evidence of the vaccine-strain virus through DNA testing (PCR assay), but the plaintiffs contend this was incorrect as PCR was not standard for shingles, and the required DNA evidence never existed. They are urging the 3rd Circuit to overturn the decision.

Zostavax lawsuit updates 2024

Shingles vaccine lawsuit March 2024 

As of Marxh 2024, there were 856 active Zostavax lawsuits pending in the Multidistrict Litigation (MDL).

Who is eligible for a Zostavax lawsuit settlements 2024?

If you are eligible to take part in Zostavax lawsuits, you could receive compensation for medical bills, lost wages, pain and suffering, and more. By taking part in Zostavax lawsuits, you could also help to hold Zostavax manufacturer Merck responsible for alleged negligence and failure to warn patients about the potential shingles vaccine injury.

You all think about when will the Zostavax lawsuit be settled, but shingles vaccine settlements in significant mass tort cases with thousands of plaintiffs typically extend the period.

What are the requirements for a Zostavax lawsuit? If you or your family member develops shingles three weeks to 12 months after receiving the Zostavax vaccine or is diagnosed with any of these serious conditions within two years of getting the Zostavax vaccine, you may be eligible for a Zostavax Merck class action.

  • Pneumonia
  • Bell’s Palsy
  • Post-Herpetic Neuralgia (PHN)
  • Vision problems
  • Autoimmune disorders

To conclude,

Vaccines require a careful balancing act. There is a risk that the live virus vaccine will not be strong enough to prevent patients from being exposed to the very disease they are trying to avoid. Conversely, if the virus is too weak to activate the immune system, there is an increased risk of developing the disease the vaccine prevents.

Numerous patients who experienced the immediate effects of receiving the Zostavax vaccine eventually made the decision to sue Merck & Co. in an effort to obtain financial shingles vaccine compensation. Before making the vaccine available to the general public, the producer was required to thoroughly assess its safety and as a result, is responsible for any harm the vaccination may have caused to the public.

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MedLegal360 is a specialized author in medical-legal matters, providing clear, authoritative insights on healthcare legislation and personal injury litigation for professionals and the curious.

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