Thousands damaged by shingles vaccine are trying to sue Merck
04/27/2017 // Frances Bloomfield // Views

What was supposed to be a cure for shingles has brought on worse complications. Thousands have attempted to file lawsuits against American pharmaceutical company Merck & Co. for problems associated with their product Zostavax. In an interview with, Troy Bouk, Associate Attorney at the Levin Papantonio law firm, stated that the side effects of the shingles vaccine included meningitis, encephalitis, stroke, palsy, and many others. According to Bouk, these side effects are all features of shingles—and with the vaccine created from a live strain of the virus, it's no wonder that Zostavax has caused people to experience these conditions.

Zostavax was approved by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), Bouk said. The group has since recommended that only people 60 and above should take the vaccine. The Food and Drug Administration (FDA), on the other hand, approved Zostavax for people 50 and above, states The CDC has warned that people within the 50 to 59 age group may lose the alleged protection benefits of the vaccine by the time the reach 60, however.

“Let’s say you’re 55 years old. It may stay in your system till you’re 60, but you actually are at the greatest risk of getting shingles when you’re in your 60s. That’s why the CDC recommends that you really don’t get it until you’re in your 60s, because that’s probably when you’re going to need it the most,” Bouk said.

On the efficacy of the vaccine, the CDC has stated that it only reduced the risk of shingles by a mere 51 percent, making its true potency uncertain.


This unpredictability is the reason why attorney Marc J. Bern of Marc J. Bern & Partners LLP has “thousands of complaints” that have yet to be filed in Philadelphia, Penn. In a statement to, Bern has said that the injuries run “the gamut from contracting shingles as a result of the vaccine all the way to serious personal injuries such as blindness in one eye, individuals who have serious paralysis in their extremities, brain damage, all the way to death.”

In an additional comment, Bern stated that he thought “Merck has failed terribly … to warn about the very serious side effects and the failure of the vaccine to do what they claim it does.” (Related: Shingles vaccine made with pig gelatin, MSG and residual components of human DNA from an aborted fetus. Why?)

Bern has said that his firm has been examining the drug “for quite some time”, and that the litigation has “merits.” The attorney has also expressed his belief that the cases should be grouped together for mass tort status. Another attorney, Michael Katz, agrees with Bern.

In response, a spokesperson for Merck has stated that “Nothing is more important to Merck than the safety of our medicines and vaccines.”

If that's the case, then why are thousands of people experiencing ailments associated with the disease the vaccine is supposed to cure? Because it's made from the same virus, that's why. Is it wonder why Zostavax is causing more harm than good? News and other media concerning vaccines and drug companies can be read over at and

Zostavax facts

  • Zostavax was approved by the FDA in 2006.
  • In 2016, Zostavax pulled in $749 million in sales for Merck.
  • Currently, Zostavax is the only approved shingles vaccine in the United States. GlaxoSmithKline is working on a second shingles vaccine called Shingrix. The drug manufacturer is still seeking the approval of the FDA for their drug.

Sources include:

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