Zostavax Shingles Vaccine Lawsuits Consolidated in the Eastern District of Pennsylvania


In an effort to maximize the efficiency of the judiciary, Merck & Co’s made a request to consolidate several lawsuits against them involving their vaccine, Zostavax. These lawsuits allege the vaccine is responsible for individuals experiencing significant injuries after receiving it. The Judicial Panel in the Eastern District of Philadelphia for Multidistrict Litigation (JPML) has granted the request.


This is a viral infection. It causes inflammation to occur in a person’s nervous system which results in a very painful skin rash. This will usually appear on one side of the person’s body and in the middle of it. This rash can cause nerve pain that may last more than one month and a rash that can last as long as 30 days. Some nerve pain can last for years. The shingles virus lies dormant in the body of anyone who has experienced chickenpox. Elderly people are at a seven times higher risk for developing shingles when compared to others.

Shingles Side Effects

In extreme cases, individuals who develop shingles can experience inflammation of the brain, meningitis as well as weakness on one side of their body. It also possible for them to have neuropathic pain, acute disseminated encephalomyelitis (also known as ADEM, an inflammation of the brain and spinal cord), or even have a stroke and more.


In 2006, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approved the use of Zostavax for the treatment of shingles. Between 2006 and 2017 over 35 million doses of Zostavax shingles vaccine were distributed. This is a vaccine created in effort to decrease the chances of individuals 50 years old and older from contracting shingles. This is the time in a person’s life when they are most vulnerable to contracting the virus. The vaccine has the live varicella zoster virus in it, a form of the shingles virus that has been significantly weakened. It is meant to activate a person’s immune system. When a person’s body actively fights the weakened virus, it is able to build up an immunity to it. There is always a chance the live virus has not been sufficiently weakened. When this happens, a person is exposed to a strong form of the disease that is able to develop in their body. This Zostavax shingles vaccine is alleged to have caused people to develop shingles instead of building up an immunity to it.

Zostavax Side Effects

The vaccine Zostavax is only effective approximately 51 percent of the time. It can last up to six years. It was the only vaccine in the United States approved for the treatment of shingles until 2017. Individuals who have used the Zostavax vaccine have experienced a variety of side effects. These include developing shingles, congestive heart failure, vision loss as well as blindness in one or both eyes. People have also experienced paralysis, inflammation of their cornea, retinal damage, a viral infection of their eyes, brain damage, nerve pain, hearing loss, eye infection and more.

Zostavax Shingles Vaccine Lawsuits

The legal actions against Merck begin when court documents were made known that alleged Merck altered the results in a number of clinical trials for the vaccine. Zostavax was performing under the 95 percent efficiency requirement that must be achieved prior to a vaccine being made available to the public. The lawsuit claims Merck falsely represented the efficiency and safety of Zostavax. In New Jersey, there are approximately 50 lawsuits that have over 750 plaintiffs. In California, there are a dozen lawsuits with over 250 plaintiffs.

When a request was made to consolidate the Zostavax shingles vaccine lawsuits, there was disagreement about the venue. Some of the plaintiffs opposed centralization. Those in favor of consolidation suggested the Eastern District of Wisconsin or the Middle District of Florida. The lawsuits were eventually centralized in the Eastern District of Pennsylvania. This is where the lawsuits involving Zostavax are furthest along in the legal process. It is also favorable because Merck’s facilities are located in Pennsylvania. If you or a loved one has been injured by the Zostavax vaccine, contact an attorney at the Law Offices of Sadaka Associates for a free consultation.


You Only Have Three Years To File Your Claim

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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