Vaccines are vitally important to the health and wellbeing of our communities. They help prevent horrible and deadly disease such as polio and whooping cough. In order for consumers to continue to feel safe receiving vaccines, it is vitally important for pharmaceuticals companies to have a vested interest in our health and welfare. When the dollar comes before the patient, we are the ones who suffer.
Recently, Merck, the manufacture of the shingles vaccine, Zostavax, has received attention for failing to put patients first. Not only has Merck manipulated data to make it seem as though Zostavax is more efficacious than it really is, but Merck has also hid life threating side effects from the public.
When consumers are harmed by vaccines, they are generally limited by the 1986 National Childhood Vaccine Injury Act, which requires patients to file injury claims with the federal government and have their claim heard by "vaccine court." The Act's injury table lists an array of vaccines, including those that protect against diphtheria, tetanus, pertussis (whooping cough), measles, mumps, rubella (German measles), polio, hepatitis A, hepatitis B, varicella (chickenpox), Hemophilus influenzae type b, rotavirus, pneumococcal conjugate, trivalent influenza (seasonal flu), meningococcal conjugate, and human papillomavirus. The Act uses a no-fault system for resolving vaccine injury claims. Compensation covers medical and legal expenses, loss of future earning capacity, and up to $250,000 for pain and suffering; a death benefit of up to $250,000 is also available.
The National Childhood Vaccine Injury Act, thus, shields vaccine makers from civil liability for government-recommended vaccines for children that are also used by adults. However, adults who sustain vaccine injuries from vaccines used exclusively by adults (like shingles and PNEUMOVAX 23 vaccines) can pursue civil lawsuits against vaccine makers and negligent doctors in vaccine injury cases. Zostavax is one of those vaccines not covered by the Act, allowing patients harmed by the vaccine to sue in regular civil court.
If you or someone you love has been hurt by Zostavax, call our Houston office at 713-352-7883 or 877-643-3099 toll free, or fill out our confidential online form to schedule a free, no-obligation consultation with a lawyer. For more information visit our Zostavax shingles vaccination information center.