Hundreds of lawsuits have been filed against the manufacturer of Zostavax, a vaccine that was supposed to help prevent shingles, by people who claim they suffered severe side effects of the shot.
The lawsuits accuse Merck & Co. of selling a vaccine that can actually cause shingles instead of preventing it.
Zostavax contains a live herpes zoster virus, which is supposed to trigger an immune reaction that helps protect people against shingles.
Instead, plaintiffs claim that they were infected with the virus and developed shingles and severe complications.
Deaths have also been reported when sick people were given the Zostavax vaccine and the virus overwhelmed their immune system.
The complications include severe pain the persists long after the shingles rash subsides, also known as Post-Herpetic Neuralgia (PHN). The pain can be severely debilitating in some cases.
Other complications of shingles include brain inflammation (encephalitis), spinal cord inflammation (myelitis), Bell’s palsy, hearing loss, and vision problems such as blindness, eye infections, or retinal damage.