Northwest Ohio woman claims shingles vaccine caused a stroke

Published: May. 29, 2018 at 6:02 PM EDT
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Pamela Counselman, 62, says four months after she received the Zostavax vaccine she had a stroke. She feels the vaccine caused her stroke and says she wasn't properly warned about the risks.

Zostavax is a vaccine to prevent the shingles. Shingles is a reactivation of the chicken pox virus in older patients. It's was recommended for people over 60. Shingles can cause debilitating nerve pain and a painful rash. This can result in nerve damage and can be long term or permanent in some people.

There are almost 60 federal lawsuits against Mereck which is the drug company that makes Zostavax. The company is currently asking that the lawsuits be consolidated.

Some of the side effects listed in the lawsuits include cardiovascular events, and flare ups of the shingles which is what the vaccine is supposed to prevent.

13abc reached out to Merck for a comment about the lawsuits and has not received one back yet.

There is another vaccine for shingles that does not have the same reported side effects. And it's recommended by the Centers For Disease Control. It's called Shingrix It's given in two doses 2 to 6 months apart.

 Response from Merck:

"Nothing is more important to Merck than the safety of our medicines and vaccines. Merck stands behind the demonstrated safety and efficacy of ZOSTAVAX, which has been licensed in over 50 countries. The safety and efficacy of ZOSTAVAX were originally demonstrated in clinical trials involving more than 30,000 patients and since then ZOSTAVAX has been studied in hundreds of thousands of patients. The company has continuously provided appropriate and timely information about ZOSTAVAX to consumers and to the medical, scientific and regulatory communities."