On April 28th, 2015, Darlene Howard was given the Zostavax shingles vaccine at a Walgreens Pharmacy. One month later, she was infected and covered head-to-toe with a severe outbreak of disseminated shingles, ultimately resulting in her death. According to Darlene’s two children, the company who produced the Zostavax shingles vaccine, Merck & Co., is to blame.
Introduced in 2006, Zostavax consists of a live virus injection intended to protect older adults from shingles, which is a viral infection often results in a painful rash and fluid-filled blisters. While shingles can exist anywhere on the body, it most commonly appears as a single line of blisters, wrapping around either the left or right side of the torso.
Legal Claims Stemming from Zostavax
The wrongful death lawsuit claims that the death of Darlene was a direct result of Merck’s defective vaccine. This lawsuit joins many others filed individually throughout the country by individuals or their loved ones who have suffered from the defective nature of Zostavax. Many of these claims argue that safer alternatives were easily available, including ones that did not contain the live virus.
For example, one commonly used alternative to Zostavax is Shingrix, which does not contain a live virus in its formula. The suit also alleges that Merck & Co. was aware—or at the very least, should have been aware—of the risks and reactions associated with their shingles vaccine. Furthermore, since Merck & Co. would have been aware of the risks, they were legally required to provide adequate warnings to all parties using the drug, which would likely prevent people from using it.
Pursuing Compensation Against Merck & Co.
Due to the number of claims already in progress, it is likely that the litigation against Merck will continue to grow in the near future. If you or someone you know has received the Zostavax vaccine and suffered from shingles, you may be entitled to financial compensation.