The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has recently approved a new shingles vaccine that promises to be more effective and long-lasting than Zostavax, the only other shingles vaccine currently on the market.
The new vaccine, called Shingrix and manufactured by GlaxcoSmithKline, is a two-dose vaccine recommended for people over the age of 50. The vaccine boots immunity, and is not manufactured with a live virus the way the Zostavax is, and so it may be safe for older people with compromised immunity. But does this all mean that Shingrix is "safe?"
Lessons from Zostavax
Until now, Zostavax was the only available defense against shingles, which causes painful blisters in older people and, in some cases, ongoing nerve pain. But in some cases, Zostavax may have been the reason for, not the defense against, worrisome and debilitating symptoms. In July of this year, 18 patients filed a lawsuit against Merck, the manufacturer of Zostavax, claiming that Merck failed in its duty to warn recipients of the shingles vaccine of the potential risks of the vaccine. The people who have filed the lawsuit contracted shingles after having received the vaccine, and some then suffered from nerve damage and scarring.
What's the risk of Shingrix?
Because Shingrix isn't made with a live virus the way that Zostavax is, it's unlikely to pose the same risks to consumers as the earlier vaccine did. But because the vaccine is new, the risks specific to the new vaccine, if any, may remain to be seen, and must be weighed against the potential risk of getting shingles.
Ultimately, if you or a loved one were injured by a vaccine, including Zostavax, it's smart to speak with a knowledgeable personal injury lawyer to protect your rights and learn about your options for potential litigation.