August 30, 2021 — Merck & Co. won the first “bellwether” trial involving Zostavax in a federal Multi-District Litigation (MDL #2848) in Pennsylvania.
The trial involved a man from Florida who developed shingles 8 years after he received the Zostavax vaccine in 2008. His lawyers failed to provide an expert witness by March 2021, so the case was tossed.
Merck was granted summary judgement by U.S. Judge Harvey Bartle III of the Eastern District of Pennsylvania — but the saga is not over.
His lawsuit was one of 6 cases in a pool of lawsuits that Merck faces. The next trials are scheduled to begin in January 2022
Furthermore, Merck & Co. is still facing around 1,950 lawsuits over its shingles shot Zostavax in the federal MDL.
Merck is accused of failing to warn about the risk of severe side effects, including an infection with the virus in Zostavax that can cause shingles — the very same disease it was supposed to prevent.
There have also been reports of death in immunocompromised people who developed serious infections from the virus in the vaccine.
Lawyers for people who developed these side effects claim that the virus was not adequately weakened to prevent serious infections.