Price Armstrong is investigating a case involving serious complications that result from the shingles vaccine Zostavax, made by Merck Pharmaceuticals.

If you or a loved one are over 50, received a vaccine for shingles since 2006, and suffered a shingles outbreak or other serious complications within a year of receiving that vaccine, you may have a claim against Merck Pharmaceuticals for your injuries. Contact the attorneys at Price Armstrong to see if you qualify to participate in this lawsuit.

Contact Us to See If You Qualify


In 2006, the FDA approved Merck Pharmaceuticals’ new drug Zostavax, which Merck intended to sell as a vaccine for the painful shingles virus. Unlike some other vaccines, Zostavax is known as a “live attenuated virus” vaccine, meaning that the treatment contains a weakened but live form of the shingles virus. The vaccine is designed to increase the patient’s immunity to the shingles virus by building up the body’s own immune system defenses. Merck claims that Zostavax works to prevent shingles outbreaks in about 50% of patients, though some research suggests that the number of patients who benefit from it is far, far lower. Until 2017, Zostavax was the only FDA-approved vaccine for shingles, and this exclusivity allowed Merck to make nearly three quarters of a billion dollars in 2016 on Zostavax sales.



Unfortunately, many people who received Merck’s Zostavax vaccine experienced severe side effects and complications as a direct result of using this vaccine. Tragically, many of them experienced the exact outcome they had hoped to avoid – the Zostavax vaccine caused them to develop a painful shingles outbreak. In others, Zostavax is believed to have caused even more serious injuries. There have been many reports of blindness, hearing loss, paralysis, brain damage and fatal liver failure. Many other illnesses are suspected to be related to complications in patients who received the Zostavax vaccine, including herpes encephalitis, optical nerve damage, kidney and liver damage, Bell’s palsy, Guillain Barre Syndrome, and other viral related illnesses and injuries.

How could a drug designed to prevent shingles actually cause it, along with serious health problems? First, Zostavax is only given to patients over 50, and some of those patients already have weakened immune systems. Second, unlike other competing shingles vaccines, Zostavax contains live shingles virus, making outbreaks more likely. Despite years of reports that Zostavax could cause painful and serious complications, Zostavax’s packaging didn’t warn users that it could cause shingles until Merck Pharmaceuticals changed the labeling for Zostavax eight years after introducing it to the market in 2014. Unfortunately, by that time, many patients treated with Zostavax had already experienced the devastating side effects.


Plaintiffs began filing lawsuits for injuries linked to Zostavax in 2018. In August 2018, a federal court consolidated 57 federal cases into one joint proceeding in the Eastern District of Pennsylvania. Dozens of other cases have been filed in states around the country, but the primary litigation against Merck for Zostavax will now take place in Pennsylvania.

The case is still in its early stage, as lawyers for patients affected by Zostavax seek to prove to the Court that Zostavax is defective, that Merck knew it was defective and hid that information from patients in order to keep selling Zostavax with only minimal warning of its dangerous side effects, and that many plaintiffs have injuries that were caused by the vaccine. As information about the serious complications associated with Zostavax has come to light, thousands of patients have come forward to participate in lawsuits against Merck to recover for their injuries.


If you or a loved one received a Zostavax vaccination and suffered severe complications in the weeks or months after receiving it, the first and most important step is to contact an experienced attorney to help you assess whether you should pursue a claim in the Zostavax lawsuit. The lawyers at Price Armstrong are happy to talk to you and help you determine if you have the potential to be compensated for your injures.

When you contact us, we will need to collect some basic information to determine whether you can pursue a Zostavax claim. Some of the information we will need to know includes:

  • Whether you received Zostavax. Most patients with claims likely received a shingles vaccine between 2006 and 2016, and they likely received it from a pharmacist.
  • Whether you had serious side effects or complications in the months after receiving the vaccine. Patients who experienced a new shingles outbreak after the vaccination, or loss of vision, loss of hearing, lung injury, cardiac injuries, brain inflammation (encephalitis), some autoimmune diseases, post herpetic neuralgia pain (severe nerve pain), may have injuries that were caused by Zostavax. To be eligible, you must not have had these injuries before being vaccinated with Zostavax.
  • If you were suffering from immune suppression at the time you received your Zostavax vaccination (as a result of an immune deficiency, cancer treatment, or something similar) or if you already had shingles before receiving the vaccine. You will likely not be able to pursue a claim for Zostavax injuries.

If you meet the criteria above, please contact us today. It’s important that we help evaluate your claim and if you are eligible, take steps to preserve any claims you may have as soon as possible. Important time limits apply, so waiting to take action could prevent you from making a claim for Zostavax injuries in the future.

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If you have been affected by the Zostavax vaccine, contact the attorneys at Price Armstrong. We can help you seek justice and protect your rights throughout the process. Call us today at (205) 208-9588 for a free initial consultation and review of your case. Let us fight for you – call now!