Shingles Vaccine Responsible for Causing Shingles Outbreak


While most vaccines are covered by the National Vaccine Injury Compensation Program, the vaccine for shingles is one of the exceptions. Vaccines that are given only to adults are usually not subject to the provisions of the program and vaccines for shingles fall into this category. This means that vaccine makers can be sued in regular court. As a result of this and the large number of cases of shingles that have been caused by the vaccine, there have been a multitude of cases filed against the makers of these vaccines.

Previously, the main vaccine for shingles was Zostavax, which is manufactured by Merck. Where Zostavax is different than other shingles vaccine is that it contains live virus. While this approach works without major complications for other live-virus vaccines, it has caused numerous cases of shingles in those who have received this vaccine. Basically, Zostavax caused the very condition it was intended to prevent. In fact, by August 2018, there have been nearly 50,000 reports of adverse events by those who have been vaccinated. At that time, there were 142 deaths reported as well as hundreds of other permanent disabilities.

Due to the large number of complications, Zostavax is no longer CDC’s preferred vaccination for shingles. The CDC has now switched away from a live-virus vaccine given all of the complications. Prior to that, Zostavax had been administered to patients over 30 million times. The specific problem with Zostavax is that the live virus that is contained in the vaccine is exceedingly strong. While this is still not sufficient for most people to develop shingles, there are many people whose bodies cannot withstand the live disease in the vaccine. Especially since this vaccine is given to older patients, they will be more at risk to develop the disease. Singles is not the only complication of the vaccine. Patients can also develop vision problems, neurological problems and heart failure among other side effects.

Currently, there are thousands of lawsuits against Merck. As is the case when there are many different lawsuits against one vaccine manufacturer, they are consolidated into a multi-district litigation. This means that, while the cases remain separate, discovery and evidentiary rulings are uniform for all of the cases. The court will select a handful of bellweather cases that go to trial first. Then, parties to the litigation can get a sense of how a jury will view the grounds of the lawsuits.

Here, Mark Sadaka has assumed an active role in the multi-district litigation. As co-lead counsel, he has argued various motions in court for the case. The Law Offices Of Sadaka Associates represents many individuals who have filed suits in this case. Recently, Mark Sadaka argued a motion in court in New Mexico to consolidate all of the Zostavax cases in the Eastern District of Pennsylvania. Mr. Sadaka has participated in many depositions and has extensively reviewed Merck’s corporate documentation relating to the case. He is regarded to be a widely-respected authority on Zostavax. He regularly speaks in front of gatherings of other attorneys to discuss issues related to the litigation.

Currently, all of the Zostavax cases have been broken down into two groups in the multi-district litigation. By the end of the year, the bellweather cases for trial will have been selected. The cases are supposed to begin trial by November 2020 and the bellweather trials will continue into 2021.

If you or a loved one has been administered Zostavax and have developed shingles, contact The Law Offices Of Sadaka Associates immediately to discuss your legal options and the possibility of receiving compensation for your injuries.


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The first step in helping yourself or a loved one after a serious vaccine related injury is to contact us for a free review of your case.

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