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A Florida man has filed a new Zostavax lawsuit in the U.S. District Court for the District of New Jersey. He blames Zostavax manufacturer Merck & Co. for injuries he allegedly sustained after receiving the Zostavax shingles vaccination.

Plaintiff Claims Zostavax Caused Shingles

According to his complaint, the plaintiff received the Zostavax vaccine on March 30, 2016, from his family practice doctor. The FDA approved the vaccine in May 2006 for the prevention of shingles in people 60 and over, and then later expanded that approval to apply to those age 50 and over.

Shingles is a painful, nerve-based rash that is caused by the herpes zoster virus—the same virus that causes chickenpox. Individuals who have chickenpox as children have the virus in their systems. Even after they get better, the virus hides in the nerves and can reawaken later in life, particularly if the immune system is in a weakened condition. If the virus takes hold again, it causes shingles.

The Zostavax vaccine contains a small amount of the live herpes zoster virus. It is supposed to create an immune reaction that helps protect people against shingles, but the plaintiff states that it actually caused shingles in his case.

Plaintiff Suffers from Shingles and Nerve Damage

After receiving the vaccine, the plaintiff claims that he began experiencing tingling and numbness, accompanied by burning in his hands that radiated outward. He then developed a painful rash and blisters on his upper back and shoulders.

On April 13, 2016, the plaintiff went to his primary physician and discovered that he was suffering from shingles. He had a follow-up appointment with a neurologist, who performed testing. The results indicated that he had suffered nerve damage as a result of the Shingles.

The plaintiff claims that as a result of the Zostavax vaccine, he has suffered painful injuries and damages, and required extensive medical care and treatment.

Plaintiff Blames Merck for Failing to Warn

The plaintiff claims that the patient information sheet, the label, and the prescribing information for Zostavax failed to adequately, if at all, address the risk of viral infection. Despite the fact that shingles was a noted occurrence during clinical trials with the vaccine, the only information provided was the fact that the vaccine could result in itching and a rash at the injection site.

Shingles can also lead to other complications, including scarring, pneumonia, encephalitis, and vision and hearing impairment. The plaintiff states that Merck knew, or should have known, that consumers receiving the Zostavax vaccine could suffer preventable injuries as a result of the company’s failure to “exercise ordinary care.” He will continue to require medical care and services, and suffers from a reduced quality of life.

The plaintiff brings counts of design defect, failure to warn, breach of warranties, negligent misrepresentation, and unjust enrichment, and seeks compensatory and punitive damages.

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