Zostavax Vaccine Caused Tinnitus and Hearing Loss Side Effects, Lawsuit Claims

  • Written by: Irvin Jackson

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According to allegations raised in a recently filed product liability lawsuit, side effects of the shingles vaccine caused a Wisconsin woman to suffer hearing loss and tinnitus, indicating that the live-virus contained in the Zostavax injection was not sufficiently weakened, or “under-attenuated”.

The complaint (PDF) was filed earlier this month by Dorothy Saffold in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania, indicating that Merck & Co. sold an unreasonably dangerous and defective vaccine, which may actually re-activate the dormant herpes zoster virus.

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

The lawsuit indicates Saffold was inoculated with Zostavax in June 2016 to prevent shingles. However, shortly after the injection, she began suffering hearing loss and a ringing in the ears, known as tinnitus. She was eventually diagnosed with idiopathic hearing loss of the right ear. The lawsuit blames the side effects of Zostavax for causing Saffold’s hearing problems after she received the shingles vaccine.

“As a direct and proximate result of Merck’s defective Zostavax vaccine, plaintiff’s symptoms have resulted in physical limitations not present prior to using Merck’s product,” Saffold’s lawsuit states. “As a result of the manufacture, marketing, advertising, promotion, distribution andlor sale of Zostavax, Plaintiff sustained severe and permanent personal injuries. further, as a tragic consequence of Merck’s wrongful conduct, Plaintiff suffered serious, progressive, permanent, and incurable injuries, as well as significant conscious pain and suffering, mental anguish, emotional distress, loss of enjoyment of life, physical impairment and injury.”

The complaint joins hundreds of other Zostavax vaccine lawsuits filed by individuals nationwide who experienced problems, including more severe shingles outbreaks and auto-immune disorders.

Given similar questions of fact and law raised in the lawsuits over Zostavax, the federal 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 a federal MDL, or multi-district litigation.

As lawyers continue to investigate and file additional claims on behalf of people who have experienced problems from Zostavax, the size of the litigation is expected to continue to grow over the coming months and years.

If Merck fails to reach Zostavax settlements or another resolution for the claims following bellwether trials, each individual lawsuit may eventually be remanded back to different U.S. District courts nationwide for separate trial dates in the future.

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  1. Paula Reply

    I have experienced Tinnitus and hearing loss since receiving the Zostavax injection. It is literally making me crazy. My older sister has the same symptoms also after receiving the vaccine. Seems like a coincidence!!

  2. Mark Reply

    I received the shingles vaccine 7days ago and have since been suffering from headaches and very bad ringing in my ears immediately following the vaccination.

  3. Yvonne Reply

    My situation sounds exactly like that of the woman who filed the lawsuit. Last year, my family doctor recommended the vaccine and I got it. After that I was dizzy and then I had moderate to severe hearing loss in my right ear and tinnitus. The hearing loss is almost certainly permanent. I am in the province of Ontario in Canada.

  4. Norris Reply

    Small working at Memorial Hospital in the nurse I received the single shot walking around children who had chickenpox or measles soon after I received the shot my hearing started fading

  5. Anna Reply

    My mother started getting really horrible ringing in her years after getting shingles vaccination. We are looking for solutions!

  6. Tabitha Reply

    I received the shingrix shingles shot and now have ringing in my ears. I had my hearing checked by my ENT, my hearing is fine but the ringing is constant.

  7. Maria Reply

    I am Constantly having ringing in my ears since I received the shingles vaccine

  8. David Reply

    I received the shingrix vaccine and had three days of terrible muscle pain as well as pain in both ears. Ringing started on third day and at times keeps me from sleeping,never does completely stop.Doctor said probably nothing can be done .

  9. Vicki Reply

    Shortly after receiving the shingrix vaccine, I suffered pain, headaches, hearing loss, and extreme tinnitus. After months of specialty doctor visits, prednisone regimens, an MRI, and unnecessary expense because nothing was found, my doctor concluded that it was most likely an autoimmune phenomenon related to the shingrix shot. He recommended that I NOT get the second shot. He said it may never resolve itself. A year later, I continue to have extreme tinnitus and some hearing loss in my left ear. After the shot, I am also having migraine headaches.

  10. Patricia Reply

    I received the 2nd dose of the newer Shingrix shingles vaccine on October 21, 2020 in the evening at a local pharmacy. The next morning at 9:30 am after shivering chills all night I noticed loud hissing in both ears. I called my doctor who had no clue. After an urgent care visit, then a doctor visit to my doctor and a visit to an ENT who who found moderate to severe hearing loss in both ears I continue to have constant hissing, sleep issues, headaches and anxiety from all of this! I felt perfectly fine before I got this 2nd Shingrix vaccine! I never even thought about my ears or hearing prior to this..The side effects are horrible and they do not disclose them to you!

  11. Jeanette Reply

    Received the second dose of the shingles vaccine in December 2020.I had the worst pain of my life in my left arm.l later developed ringing in my ears and headache which I continue to have.was seen by ENT and was told I have hearing loss in both ears and the ringing persist

  12. Tammy Reply

    Shortly after receiving 1st Shingles shot, constant hissing in my left ear began. Went to ENT, had an MRI. Hearing loss with tinnitus. I shouldn’t have gotten the shot.

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