Zostavax Lawsuit Filed Over Shingles Vaccine Injuries

A product liability lawsuit alleges that side effects of the Zostavax vaccine, which is supposed to protect against shingles, also known as herpes zoster, actually caused a D.C. woman to develop the very condition the vaccine was designed to prevent.

The complaint (PDF) was filed by Arlene Halfon on September 16 in the U.S. District Court for the District of New Jersey, naming the drug makers Merck & Co., Inc. and McKesson Corp. as the defendants.

Zostavax was introduced in 2006, as the first shingles vaccine, involving a single-dose injection that contains a live virus designed to vaccinate older adults against the development of the disease. However, the vaccine has largely been abandoned by the medical community after it was linked to a large number of reports involving severe complications, where it may have caused individuals experienced more persistent shingles outbreaks, as well as other infections and auto-immune disorders, shortly after exposure to Zostavax.

According to the lawsuit, Halfon received the Zostavax vaccine in November 2009, for long-term prevention of shingles. However, after the injection she developed shingles and other shingles vaccine injuries.

The lawsuit blames the shingles outbreak on Zostavax, indicating that the live virus was not sufficiently weakened and that the manufacturers failed to provide adequate warnings to Halfon and her doctor about the potential shingles vaccine risks.

“At the time of Plaintiff’s vaccination, Plaintiff and Plaintiff’s healthcare providers relied on the warning label affixed to Zostavax, and Plaintiff relied on the information relayed through Plaintiff’s healthcare provider(s) that Zostavax was effective to permanently prevent shingles and did not carry any significant risk of adverse effect, which induced Plaintiff to be vaccinated,” the lawsuit states.

Halfon presents claims for negligence, design and manufacturing defect, failure to warn, breach of warranty, and unjust enrichment. She seeks both punitive and compensatory damages.

The complaint joins hundreds of other Zostavax lawsuits be pursued throughout the U.S. Court System, each raising similar allegations that individuals suffered painful and debilitating injuries that may have been avoided if the vaccine were not administered, or a different design had been used that did not feature a live-virus.

Given similar questions of fact and law raised in shingles vaccine lawsuits filed throughout the federal court system, the litigation has been centralized before U.S. District Judge Harvey Bartle III in the Eastern District of Pennsylvania, for coordinated discovery and pretrial proceedings.

As part of the coordinated litigation, Judge Bartle has scheduled a series of early “bellwether” trials, which are designed to help gauge how juries may respond to certain evidence and testimony that may be repeated throughout the claims. However, if Merck fails to reach Zostavax settlements or another resolution for the litigation, each individual lawsuit may eventually be remanded back to different U.S. District courts nationwide for separate trial dates in the future.

1 Comments

  • Rose marieOctober 12, 2021 at 6:20 pm

    I received my second shingles vaccine on September 22, 2021 and just a few days ago I noticed my eyes were burning, eye lids red and swollen, itching and painful. I went to the eye doctor and said my oil ducts were inflamed. I asked him it could be related to the vaccine and he said no. But I do see on the internet that it could be. I had a fever of 102.2 the day after the shot and a red swollen [Show More]I received my second shingles vaccine on September 22, 2021 and just a few days ago I noticed my eyes were burning, eye lids red and swollen, itching and painful. I went to the eye doctor and said my oil ducts were inflamed. I asked him it could be related to the vaccine and he said no. But I do see on the internet that it could be. I had a fever of 102.2 the day after the shot and a red swollen upper arm from my shoulder to my elbow for a week. I’m concerned and when I got the shot I didn’t get any literature but I wasn’t really concerned and didn’t ask for literature because I’ve never gotten a reaction to a vaccine before.

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