Zostavax is a shingles vaccine made by Merck. It contains live chicken pox virus. It is made for people 50 and older, and it is the only shingles vaccine approved for use in the U.S. The U.S. Centers for Diseases Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends a one-time dose for adults who are 60 and older. But, Zostavax can actually cause shingles or chickenpox. Shingles can cause serious, and sometimes fatal complications.
Shingles is caused by varicella zoster virus. That’s the same virus that causes chicken pox. If you have had chicken pox, you are at risk for developing shingles because the virus stays in your body. It remains dormant, but if your immune system gets weak, it can flare up in the form of shingles.
Shingles is a very painful condition and the pain is long-lasting. There is no treatment for shingles pain. Other serious complications of shingles can include:
- Varicella pneumonia
- Encephalitis – brain inflammation
- Acute disseminated encephalomyelitis (ADEM)
- Hearing problems
- Guillain-Barre syndrome
- Congestive heart failure
The Zostavax Gamble
Once you have had chicken pox, the virus never leaves your body. About one-third of people who have had chicken pox develop shingles later in life. If you have had chicken pox you may have a 33% chance of developing shingles. Zostavax can reduce that risk, but according to some it is only about 51% effective. If you choose to take the vaccine, you basically have a 50/50 chance of protection from a condition that you were 66% not likely to develop in the first place. And, you run the risk of actually triggering the condition you were trying to prevent.
If you have developed shingles or chicken pox, and serious complications, after taking Zostavax, please talk to an experienced defective drug attorney right away to learn more about your rights and potential compensation.