Zostavax may cause meningitis, encephalitis, stroke, and other brain injuries.
Merck’s Zostavax is the only FDA approved vaccine for the prevention of shingles. Shingles is caused by the chickenpox virus, varicella zoster.
Since Zostavax contains live virus the vaccine can cause the disease it was meant prevent.
The virus contained in Zostavax can cause chickenpox and shingles (herpes zoster). Chickenpox and shingles can cause serious damage to the nervous system including meningitis, encephalitis, acute disseminated encephalomyelitis (ADEM), and stroke.
Risks of Zostavax
Zostavax is essentially the same vaccine used for chickenpox, except significantly stronger. The live varicella zoster virus contained in Zostavax differs from natural varicella zoster virus in that it’s ability to cause disease is reduced or “attenuated”. Attenuated vaccines are designed to activate the immune system with the decreased risk of actually developing the disease.
The current label for ZOSTAVAX provides that the vaccine may cause:
- allergic reactions, which may be serious and may include difficulty in breathing or swallowing
- hives at the injection site
- joint pain
- muscle pain
- rash at the injection site
- SHINGLES (HERPES ZOSTER)
- swollen glands near the injection site (that may last a few days to a few weeks)
These injuries include:
- Intense neuropathic pain
Brain injuries like
- Encephalitis, an acute inflammation of the brain.
- Acute disseminated encephalomyelitis (ADEM) is an immune-mediated inflammatory encephalopathy.
- Ataxia (trouble walking)
- Hypertonia (increased muscle tone)
- Hypotonia (decreased muscle tone), and
- Hemiparesis (weakness on one-side of the body).
Injury to the heart like
Signs and symptoms of shingles
Shingles is characterized by a skin rash that is extremely painful. Shingles first manifests itself by a pain that tingles or burns at a single site on one side of the body. The rash appears after a few days and may even blister. The rash can last for up to thirty days. Shingles is mainly a disease of the elderly, but younger persons can get it. One out of every five people who get shingles end up with nerve pain that can last months and even years.
Once a person has had chickenpox, the virus remains dormant in their body. Later in life, if the immune system becomes weakened, the virus can reactivate to cause shingles. Zostavax contains a “weakened” form of the varicella virus, which stimulates the immune system in an effort to keep the virus dormant.