Zostavax Shingles Vaccine Lawsuits

Zostavax is the first shingles vaccine on the market, created by Merck & Co. It is one of only two such vaccines in the United States. The goal of Zostavax is to reduce the risk of developing shingles, or the herpes zoster virus, in people over 50. Unfortunately, the vaccine may unintentionally cause the virus rather than prevent it in some patients.

If the Zostavax shingles vaccine has affected you or someone you love, contact our attorneys today. The Dickerson Oxton Law Firm is investigating personal injury cases involving Zostavax. You could qualify for financial compensation through a defective or dangerous product lawsuit in Kansas City, Missouri. Call today to request your free consultation with a lawyer.

Why Choose Us?

The Dickerson Oxton Law Firm has the information and honest legal counsel you are seeking after injuries or illness from a faulty shingles vaccine. We have experience handling these types of cases specifically and will be upfront about whether we believe your case has merit. Our attorneys truly care about what happens to their clients. Why do clients count on our Kansas City attorneys?

  • We do not charge attorney’s fees unless we win.
  • We have primary experience representing personal injury cases.
  • We are always honest, transparent, and straightforward about expectations for lawsuits.
  • We are here to answer your questions and offer our advice.

Our attorneys want to secure justice for you if you suffered injuries because of a defective vaccine. We do not believe it is fair for big pharmaceutical companies to get away with injuring consumers due to lack of proper testing, risk evaluations, or warnings. If you believe you have a case, trust us with your legal representation for a strong product liability case.

What Is Zostavax? What Is the Issue?

Zostavax should have been a medical breakthrough that helped patients avoid shingles – a serious and painful virus that stems from the same virus as the chicken pox (varicella zoster). Instead, it has become the center of controversy and legal action as patients who get the vaccine end up with the same disease it was meant to prevent. Shingles is a rash accompanied by shooting pains, typically only on one side of the body. Most people who develop shingles get it decades after suffering chicken pox.

People most at risk of developing shingles are those who are 50 and older, under stress, healing from physical traumas, cancer or HIV patients, and people taking long-term steroids. Anything that weakens the immune system could “wake up” the dormant chickenpox virus in the spinal cord and lead to the development of shingles. Shingles can cause tingling sensations, fever, chills, headache, nausea, rashes, and shooting pains. The purpose of Zostavax is to protect at-risk people from developing shingles.

The problem with Zostavax is that instead of preventing shingles, it is causing shingles in some patients. Many patients have complained that they have suffered recurring outbreaks of shingles after getting the vaccine. At least one patient’s episodes have progressed to the point of a treatment-resistant complication that causes burning nerve pain after receiving the Zostavax vaccine. Injured patients are now filing lawsuits against Merck & Co. for failing to warn consumers of foreseeable risks of the vaccine.

Why Are People Filing Lawsuits?

Patients are bringing lawsuits against the manufacturer of Zostavax, alleging that the company should have reasonably known of the risks of developing shingles and should have disclosed this information to consumers. The lawsuits allege that instead of warning consumers, Merck & Co. kept quiet – likely to protect their company and profits from the drug. With help from attorneys, however, injured patients are coming forward with their lawsuits.

Ongoing cases against Merck & Co. state that it took eight years for the company to divulge the risk of Zostavax causing shingles. The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approved the drug in 2006, but it was not until 2014 that the company listed shingles as a potential side effect. In this time, hundreds of patients received the vaccine and could potentially suffer adverse health complications as a result. The lawsuits against the company claim that it was negligent in its failure to warn consumers of the possibility of developing shingles.

Zostavax Injuries and Side Effects

The National Vaccine Information Center reports that as of May 31, 2018, it has received 42,604 reports of adverse shingles vaccine reactions, injuries, and deaths. So far, physicians have linked shingles vaccinations to at least 850 hospitalizations, 660 disabilities, and 128 deaths.

After taking defective Zostavax, patients may develop:


  • Shingles
  • Nerve inflammation
  • Severe pain
  • Chronic pain
  • Muscle or joint pain
  • Skin rash or hives
  • Headache
  • Fever
  • Nausea
  • Loss of vision
  • Eye problems
  • Hearing and balance problems
  • Facial paralysis
  • Pneumonia
  • Brain inflammation
  • Liver failure

In certain cases, complications can be fatal.

Affected patients have noted reactions from both the vaccine itself and the method of injection. Some patients have reported side effects at the injection site, such as swelling, redness, swollen glands, and muscle pain. Others complain that the vaccine caused shingles and related health effects. If you believe Zostavax or another shingles vaccine caused your illness or injuries, contact an attorney right away.

Compensation Available – What Are My Options?

Contacting an attorney can help you understand your rights and legal options as an injured Zostavax consumer. If you received this vaccine and then developed shingles or suffered other vaccine-related injuries or illnesses, you could have grounds for a lawsuit. A product liability lawsuit could result in financial recovery for your related past and future losses.

  • You could recover medical costs. A lawsuit could garner payment for your complete past and future medical costs relating to Zostavax and its complications, including hospital stays, treatments, medications, surgeries, medical devices, and live-in care.
  • You could recover damages for pain and suffering. Zostavax lawsuits often involve pain and suffering damages. Since shingles is such a painful illness, victims of Zostavax can suffer significant and sometimes lifelong nerve pain, burning sensations, and emotional distress.
  • You could recover compensation for lost wages. Patients who develop shingles because of Zostavax may have to take time off work to treat or heal from their illnesses. They may be able to claim recovery for lost wages, as well as lost future wages for disabilities and chronic pain.
  • You could recover compensation for legal fees. Successful settlements or verdicts can result in payment for any lawyer’s fees and court costs plaintiffs may have incurred during their lawsuits. The defendant may have to pay for these costs.
  • You could recover compensation for punitive damages. Sometimes the courts will add punitive damages for a plaintiff in a defective drug lawsuit if it finds the defendant guilty of gross negligence or egregious misconduct.

Your options for obtaining financial compensation as a victim of Zostavax side effects may include filing an insurance claim and negotiating a settlement, filing an individual lawsuit, or joining a class action with other plaintiffs against a shared defendant. A consultation with an attorney can help you understand your options and choose the right one for your situation.

How Do You Know If You Were Harmed by This Vaccine?

Not all recipients of the Zostavax vaccine will have the right to file product liability claims against Merck & Co. Patients must have the required elements of a case. These elements include duty of care, breach of duty, causation, and damages. In general, a product manufacturer will be strictly liable for damages a defective item causes. This means that proving the vaccine you received had a design or manufacturing defect is enough to demonstrate manufacturer’s negligence and be eligible for compensation.

However, the defective or dangerous vaccine needs to have caused you damages, or compensable harms. Damages can include personal injuries, illnesses, medical bills, lost wages, and pain and suffering. It may be difficult to pinpoint Zostavax as the cause of your damages. You want a lawyer to investigate your case and analyze medical records. An attorney can investigate your case, determine the probable source of your shingles or other injuries, and help you file a lawsuit against the drug manufacturer, if applicable.

It is worthwhile to speak to a lawyer if you recently received the Zostavax vaccine for shingles and noticed any painful side effects at the injection site, or if you later developed shingles after receiving the vaccine. Initial consultations at the Dickerson Oxton Law Firm are free. You can talk to an attorney about your experience and get candid advice as to whether you have grounds for a product liability lawsuit or class action. One of our attorneys can help you fight for financial compensation.

Contact Us Today

We believe in holding Merck & Co. and other pharmaceutical companies responsible for developing or marketing unsafe drugs. It is our job as personal injury attorneys to give a voice to injured patients and compassionately advocate for their rights. We have the power to negotiate settlement agreements, take Big Pharma companies to court, and argue for fair compensation on behalf of our clients. Trust us with your case if you want aggressive, effective legal representation in the face of a bad drug.

If you or a loved one has suffered physical injuries or illnesses after receiving the Zostavax vaccine in Kansas City, contact us. Our lawyers are investigating cases involving Zostavax and may be able to help you obtain compensation for your damages. We can answer your questions during a free consultation at our local law office, or over the phone when you call (816) 268-1960. We will listen to your story, let you know if we think you have a case, and potentially help you file a lawsuit against Merck & Co. for defective Zostavax vaccine. Call now for more information.