Drugwatch.com is reporting that Merck's shingles vaccine, Zostavax, is facing several lawsuits for causing shingles, the very thing the vaccine is supposed to protect against. Eighteen people from across the country filed one of the first Zostavax lawsuits in New Jersey. The lawsuit alleges the vaccine caused people to develop shingles. The outbreak led to hospitalization and chronic nerve pain called post-herpetic neuralgia. “Merck knew or should have known that its product caused viral infection and was therefore not safe,” the suit said. Jane Boda filed one of the early lawsuits in Wisconsin in May 2018. The lawsuit claims Zostavax gave Boda shingles. She says she suffered chronic nerve damage as a result.
When I was a child, nearly everybody became ill with chickenpox. Like nearly all kids, when I became ill with it, I stayed home from school about a week and fully recovered. All that changed in 1995, when the FDA licensed and approved the live attenuated chickenpox (varicella) vaccine in persons aged >12 months. After the vaccine began to be used by most children, the incidence of chickenpox rapidly declined. However, due to continual outbreaks of chickenpox, a second dose of the chickenpox vaccine was added to the childhood immunization schedule in 2006. Is the chickenpox vaccine effective at significantly lowering the incidence of chickenpox? Yes. Due to the vaccine, there is a significantly lowered incidence of chickenpox. However, the most important question to ask is, “Has the chickenpox vaccine (along with the other 70 doses of vaccines given) improved the lives of our children and the rest of the population? The answer to that question is easy: No.