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Zostavax Shingles Lawsuits

Zostavax lawsuits say Merck failed to warn its vaccine could cause side effects. Lawsuits claim people received Zostavax and later suffered shingles, blindness, autoimmune diseases and other related injuries. Other injuries include nerve problems, hearing loss, spinal inflammation and heart problems. Lawyers are accepting Zostavax claims. Some lawyers say they expect thousands of people to file lawsuits.

Zostavax vaccine
Zostavax Lawsuit Facts
  1. Injuries Shingles, autoimmune disorders, spinal cord inflammation, vision problems, hearing loss, death
  2. Top Jury Verdict/Settlement None yet
  3. Defendant Merck
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UPDATE: Zostavax lawsuits are in the early stages. People who claim Zostavax injured them filed the first group of lawsuits in New Jersey and Pennsylvania.

People who say the Zostavax vaccine injured them are filing lawsuits. Lawsuits say vaccine maker Merck failed to warn the vaccine could cause side effects.

The vaccine uses a live, weakened form of the chickenpox and shingles virus. Lawsuits say Merck knew the live virus could cause shingles and other problems.

Did You Know?
Merck distributed 36 million doses of Zostavax from 2006 to 2017.

Zostavax litigation is ongoing. So far, there have been no trial dates set. Plaintiffs filed the first group of lawsuits in Pennsylvania and New Jersey.

Norman Sukkar was one of the first people to file a lawsuit. He filed his claim in August 2017 in New Jersey.

Less than five months after he received Zostavax, he woke up unable to walk. Doctors diagnosed him with acute transverse myelitis. He claims Zostavax caused his symptoms.

Attorneys expect to file many more complaints.

Injuries Included in Zostavax Lawsuits

Zostavax lawsuits claim the vaccine can cause several injuries. If people meet certain requirements, they may be eligible to file a lawsuit.

Depending on the injury, there are different criteria. There are also time limits for filing a claim.

A qualified vaccine lawyer can help determine if a person has a legal claim.

Shingles from Zostavax

Merck sells Zostavax as a way to prevent shingles. But, some people who receive Zostavax may suffer shingles. According to lawsuits, this type of shingles is more severe and difficult to treat.

People claiming shingles from Zostavax must have received their shot after 2006.

Other Zostavax Injuries

Zostavax vaccine lawyers are accepting clients with a wide variety of injuries. These range from nerve damage to stroke.

The following injuries must have occurred within one year of the vaccination date:
  • Autoimmune disorders, including Guillain-Barre Syndrome, Chronic Inflammatory Demyelinating Polyneuropathy, Meniere’s Disease
  • Bell’s Palsy (facial paralysis)
  • Cardiovascular event
  • Congestive heart failure
  • Death
  • Hearing loss
  • Herpetic Neuralgia (disorder in the nerves)
  • Myelitis (spinal cord inflammation)
  • Pneumonia
  • Postherpetic neuralgia, or PHN (pain continuing after shingles blister subside)
  • Serious neurological diseases or disorders, including brain inflammation (encephalitis)
  • Stroke
  • Vasculitis
  • Vision problems, including blindness, eye infections, retinal damage, acute retinal necrosis

How to File a Zostavax Lawsuit

People who suspect Zostavax injured them can contact a lawyer. Some lawyers offer free case reviews.

If a person has a claim, a lawyer can file a lawsuit on his or her behalf. Personal injury lawyers who handle Zostavax claims don’t accept fees unless they win a claim.

Is There a Time Limit to File a Lawsuit?

Each state has its own time limit to file a Zostavax lawsuit. These time limits are statutes of limitations.

Zostavax lawsuits are personal injury lawsuits. Most states give people two to three years from the date of injury to file a personal injury claim.

A lawyer can provide the exact time limits. It is important to contact an attorney right away to preserve the right to file a claim.

Accusations against Merck

Lawsuits accuse Merck of several types of wrongdoing.

Merck Logo
Accusations in lawsuits include:
  • Merck failed to warn patients about potential Zostavax side effects.
  • Zostavax can cause serious side effects, including death.
  • Merck lied about the safety and effectiveness of Zostavax.
  • Merck continued to sell Zostavax even if it knew the vaccine could injure people.
  • Zostavax is a faulty vaccine.
  • Merck said the vaccine does not cause shingles, but it can.

Vaccine Settlements and Verdicts

Because Zostavax claims are in the early stages, there are no verdicts or settlements. But, other vaccine injury claims have settled.

Most of these claims went through the government Vaccine Injury Compensation Program (VICP).

Zostavax is not eligible for the VICP. But, lawyers are filing individual lawsuits for many of the same injuries.

Examples of settlements from VICP include:
  • Flu shot
    $4.4 million for Guillain-Barre Syndrome (GBS) and Chronic Inflammatory Demyelinating Polyneuropathy (CIDP)
  • HPV vaccine
    $6 million for 49 patients who suffered seizures, blindness and death

Zostavax Class Action Lawsuits

There is currently no class action lawsuit for Zostavax. Lawyers continue to file individual lawsuits on behalf of plaintiffs.

The majority of cases are in Pennsylvania. Lawyers say if the number of cases continues to grow a judge may join them in one court. The legal process is multidistrict litigation.

Other Merck Vaccine Lawsuits

Zostavax claims are not the first lawsuits against Merck for faulty vaccines.

In 2010, former Merck scientists filed a class action suit against the pharma giant. The lawsuit accused Merck of faking tests for the measles, mumps, rubella (MMR) vaccine.

The lawsuit said Merck lied to the FDA about the effectiveness of the company’s vaccine.

“The ultimate victims here are the millions of children who every year are being injected with a mumps vaccine that is not providing them with an adequate level of protection against mumps.”

Source: 2010 Merck Whistleblower Lawsuit

In 2012, a clinic and two other physicians sued Merck.

“Merck has known for a decade that its mumps vaccine is ‘far less effective’ than it tells the government,” the lawsuit claims. “… it falsified test results and sold millions of doses.”

Please seek the advice of a medical professional before making health care decisions.

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6 Cited Research Articles

  1. Koleva, G. (2012, June 27). Merck Whistleblower Suit A Boon to Vaccine Foes Even As It Stresses Importance of Vaccines. Retrieved from
  2. Sukkar v. Merck et al. (2017, August 31). Superior Court of New Jersey Law Division: Middlesex County. Complaint and Jury Demand. Case No. MID-L-005192-17. Retrieved from
  3. Bentley v. Merck et al. (2017, February 22). Court of Common Pleas Philadelphia County. Complaint. Case ID: 161004102. Retrieved from
  4. Packel, D. (2017, February 23). Merck Sued in Philly Over Shingles Vaccine Injuries. Retrieved from
  5. Sagonowsky, E. (2017, March 14). Zostavax patients sue Merck, claiming shingles shot caused injuries and death. Retrieved from
  6. Alliance for Human Research Protection. (n.d.). Former Merck Scientists Sue Merck Alleging MMR Vaccine Efficacy Fraud. Retrieved from
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