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Comment from: dlrand, 55-64 Female on Treatment for less than 1 month (Patient) Published: February 19

On 2/10/08 I received the Zostavax shot. On 2/14/08 I had a large burning rash on my back. I immediately went to the Doctor who diagnosed my condition as "Shingles" obviously caused by the vaccine! Merck does NOT tell the doctors or patients that is is possible (I'm the proof) to get Shingles from their vaccine. My Doctor has prescribed Valtrex for 7 days to attenuate this virus. Now I'm ill, out two visits to the doctor, plus $180 for the Zostavax, and the cost of Valtrex (which costs $10/pill). I notified Merck's "Adverse Experience" hotline @ 800-444-2080 and told them of my experience. They told me that they never saw this occur (I don't believe them). I requested that they notify all doctors and include in all their advertising that it is possible to get Shingles (even if it is a small chance) from their vaccine. I also asked them to cover my expenses. Their comment back to me is: "do you want me to transfer you to our legal department?). Do not take this drug unless you want to gamble with your health!

Related Reading: zostavax | rash | shingles

Comment from: utfan, 75 or over Female on Treatment for less than 1 month (Patient) Published: September 24

Painless injection. No affects after several hours after the injection.

Comment from: Lilabelle , 65-74 on Treatment for less than 1 month (Patient) Published: December 07

One day after having the vaccine, my knees swelled and hurt very badly. I had a double knee replacement about 5 years ago. I have seen my doctor's and they haven't had many answers for me, I am know taking Benedryl and Perks for the pain. The do beleive it is a allergic reaction from the vaccine but there isn't much to do about it. Eventually it will go away.

Comment from: ccurryjr, 65-74 Female on Treatment for 1-6 months (Patient) Published: February 04

Had the shot in December 2007 it is now Feb. 2008 and I am getting a rash on my back but not bad yet if it is shingles I will be calling my doctor soon if it persists

Related Reading: shingles

Comment from: Miss Vicki, 65-74 on Treatment for less than 1 month (Patient) Published: April 27

I had the vaccine 4/23/08. By the evening of 4/24/08 I had a rash on my back and stomach. Also, in places like under the band of my bra, I have extreme redness that feels like a sunburn. This redness is also between the cheeks of my buttocks. I contacted my doctor and she just has me taking Benadryl pills and using Benadryl cream for the itching. My husband took the vaccine the same day and has had none of these symptons.

Related Reading: sunburn | benadryl

Comment from: Mark, 55-64 Female on Treatment for less than 1 month Published: February 01

24 hrs after receiving injection I became weak and my gut began to ache like the flu. After two days I experienced significant knee joint pain in my right knee, and some in my left that required 600 mg Ibuprofen, ice, and a knee brace to knock the pain down. My guts continue to ache and I am very tired four days after the shot. A friend of mine got the shot and she was experiencing flu-like sysmptoms and exhaustion for ten days. Folks, Merck does not even have a place on their website to acknoledge problems. It is about the money - at a 50% success rate, this drug should not have been released. I personally beleive the large drug companies are now skewing the results of their testing to favor the drug. To receive this vacine is the equivalent to getting shingles, but you get shingles for free, and this cost $218.00.

Related Reading: flu | ibuprofen

Comment from: kstrickoff, 55-64 Female on Treatment for less than 1 month (Patient) Published: February 23

I have never had shingles, but I recently turned 60, and had the shot, since my wife had the shingles 2 years ago, and it seemed like the wise thing to do. I had the shot last Tuesday 02/16/10. Everything appeared just fine for a few days with no symptoms. Then I woke up Saturday morning with sore throat, headache, achiness, and a 102.8 fever; some rashes began erupting on my ring finger (I don't wear a ring on that finger), and more mildly on the top of my hands. Sunday the fever diminisbed but I still felt like a space cadet, and the rash on my ring fingers and hand were growing and erupting some morer; my MD perscribed a Z-Pak as a precaution, and opined that my apparent virus was not related to the shingles shot; yet by Monday afternoon it is now looking very much like a shingles rash on my hands and fingers. All this from talking a preventative vacination. It sure would be nice to get some wise professional advise, as to what I should now to minimize the severity of this reaction, and make it go away! All responses will be appreciated!

Related Reading: sore throat | fever

Comment from: JuJu, 65-74 on Treatment for 2-5 years (Patient) Published: October 24

I've had shingles 4 times since 1988- two severe cases and two mild cases. Since taking the vaccine 2 yrs ago- no shingles!

Related Reading: shingles

Comment from: Ann Miller, 65-74 (Patient) Published: February 06

My doctor recommended that I get the vaccine in June 2009, as I am 67 and have had chickenpox. I had an extremely unpleasant time for two weeks after the shot, with flu like symptoms, raised hot red area the size of a large hand on my arm, with a great deal of pain. I have had THREE short occurrences of shingles since the shot, and none before. I feel like a guinea pig. I had no idea until I read these reviews that the vaccine was a new thing, virtually in its testing period. I feel that extra virus has been introduced into my system. I am very suspicious and unhappy with my doctor's recommendation.

Related Reading: chickenpox | flu

Comment from: Brian, 65-74 Female on Treatment for less than 1 month (Patient) Published: March 03

Recieved Zostavax vaccination on 02/22/2010 and came down with shingles on 02/26/2010. Painful blisters on right side of face, forehead, and scalp. Confirmed by physician on 03/01 who also prescribed Acyclovir and Cephalexin. Obviously, I am very displeased with this situation!

Related Reading: zostavax | acyclovir | cephalexin

Comment from: hotprocess, 75 or over Female on Treatment for 1-6 months (Patient) Published: December 18

I rcvd. Zostavax 11/12/08. The site was very soure within a couple of hours. Within a few days I had fever-like blisters on my lips. The skin on the roof of my mouth blistered and pealed. My tounge ws very tended. I had and acid-like taste in my mouth and my esophagas seemed to be tender and produced phlegm. The sourness in my arm continueed for 2-3 weeks. I became short of breath and went to ER early one morning with a pain in my right side. Tried to tell ER it was a reaction but they checked my heart and discharged me. Went to family Dr. just as a follow-up; could not do much but agree to REACTION. Symptems are becoming less. Fell like I will recover but still soure mouth, toungue and esophagas. Could be something other than vaccine but I'll bet 10:1 its a reaction.

Related Reading: fever

Comment from: alex, 45-54 Female on Treatment for less than 1 month (Patient) Published: November 30

I am (was until recently) a 54 y/o healthy man and my doc recommended the "Shingles vaccination". I did a brief research and found that the side effects reported as mild. Got it 16 days ago into the upper left arm. The following 5 days were perfect - no rash no pain, and I completely forgot about the vaccine. On day 6 I developed severe pulsating headache, nausea, constantly elevated blood pressure, and pain/tightness in the heart. It's been 10 days since this started and it still does not go away. I feel sick all the time. I went to MD, asked for help and complained about the vaccine - but she ruled out the connection and insisted that it's been just a coincidence (that turned a healthy man into a wreck). Unfortunately, I didn't do a proper research on the vaccine side effects, and as a result, I am suffering now. I believe that this HORRIBLE vaccine just harms people and should be prohibited. Whoever is reading this and still undecided, think twice before jeopardize your health by getting this vaccine.

Related Reading: shingles | rash | headache

Comment from: Zoster, 55-64 Female (Patient) Published: February 02

I had the vaccine administered to me at around noon on a Friday. The next day I felt nauseous after lunch and by nightfall I had pain in my upper left abdominal area and I was vomiting so badly that there was green bile in the vomitus. I finally had to visit the ER and was admitted to the hospital with severe pain dur to Acute Pancreatitis. I recovered after three days and my regular MD showed me a 26 page report about pancreatitis that stated Varicella Zoster is often associated with pancreatitis. I believe the Zostavax which is a live attenuated virus was the causative agent.

Related Reading: pancreatitis

Comment from: shinglestreet, 55-64 on Treatment for less than 1 month (Patient) Published: September 15

I got this shot 9/11/09. After approx. 20 mins. I experienced a metal like taste. The next day the injection site was itching and by that night was getting red and painful. I also experienced dizziness. On 9/13 the redness and pain was worse and the area also started to develope blisters. I can not find any information relating to my side effects or how long I can expect them to continue.

Related Reading: dizziness

Comment from: Dutchvrouw, 55-64 on Treatment for less than 1 month (Patient) Published: October 10

I received the vaccination on 09/29/09. It hurt a lot as I drive away. Within 2 days I had a large, bright right swelling around the injection site and a large flat circle of redness extending from elbow to upper arm and halfway around my arm. The injection site was very painful, swollen, hot and itchy. After a week, the flat circle disappeared but the bright red swollen area remained. It then changed to a blotchy, rash-like appearance. The pain was severe enough that I iced the area several times daily and took OTC pain relievers. Eleven days later, the swollen area and redness are both significantly smaller and the pain is reduced although very much present.

Related Reading: rash

Comment from: Kathy, 55-64 on Treatment for less than 1 month (Patient) Published: January 26

We've always joked that God wired me wrong! My body always does the opposite of what the medication is suppose to do!! I took a chance & had the injection on 1/16/09. Never felt the injection & the only time the area was tender was when I slept on that side & that only lasted a few days. NO PROBLEMS & NO SIDE-EFFECTS! Would highly recommend it!

Comment from: [email protected], 55-64 Female on Treatment for less than 1 month (Patient) Published: April 23

I was given Zostavax 24 hrs. ago and all is well so far.No rash,no swelling like some have reported. Rich N. Mass.

Related Reading: zostavax

Comment from: 55-64 (Patient) Published: August 02

Within a month of taking the shingles vacine, I developed the shingles. I am only 58 years old and have had 4 outbreaks since taking the vaccine. I tell my friends NOT to get the shot.

Related Reading: shingles

Comment from: Fern, 65-74 (Patient) Published: December 07

Because I had the chicken pox as an adult I never wanted to get the shingles. I took the shingles vaccine in June 2008 and several weeks later got a severe reaction from the top of my head to the top of my feet. I've had biopsies and multiple blood work which only showed that i may have an allergic reaction. I've been to 4 dermatologists, one infectious disease doctor, my oncologist, radiologist oncologist and surgeon for help. ALL 8 doctors have never seen my type of reaction. My face and chest have the typical fluid pustules and the rest of my body has a flat purple design all the way to my feet and arms. My face, mouth and tongue burn first then it goes to the rest of my body. Also, it feels like needles are stinging my skin. I do not itch. Along with this I have severe stomach pain, bloating and diarrhea. My reaction to the shingles shot has affected my stomach. It has been 2 1/2 years since this began. Today my pcp prescribed an anti viral pill to be taken 3 times a day for the next ten days. If this doesn't work i will find a virologist. I have been in touch with Merck and they are no help.

Related Reading: itch | diarrhea

Comment from: Sandy, 65-74 (Patient) Published: January 25

I received the Zostavax injection on Thurs. 1/20 and was fine until Friday night 1/21 when I noticed a red spot and slight pain in the site. The next day the spot had grown to 3 X 4 in. & I had a swollen knot the size of a tennis ball. There was considerable itching, jabbing intense pain & I spent all day Saturday and Sunday icing the spot, taking Advil, Benydryl & sleeping pills each night so I could get some rest. My shoulder and whole arm feels numb & weak. I also applied a steroid salve given to me for severe case of poison ivy. I even thought of going to the Emergency Room but because i didn't have any difficulty breathing didn't. On Monday I went to the pharmacy who administered it & the pharmist said she'd never seen that kind of reaction & if it got any worse to go to a doctor. Tuesday morning 1/25 and although the redness & swelling has shrunk somewhat, it's still there. And my arm is still weak. I don't know if this will ever go away. Wouldn't recommend this to anyone, deal with the shingles, if it happens, be aware & have it treated then. Even with the shot, you have a 50/50 chance of still contacting shingles! This immunication shouldn't have even been put on the market.

Related Reading: poison ivy

Comment from: Me, 65-74 Female (Patient) Published: March 26

At annual physical, Family Dr. recommended shingles vaccine... Never had chicken pox... $45.00 copay. On 1/123/12, the injection was painless at my pharmacy- no sores... Two weeks later joint pain started & remains today is 3/26/12... Pharmacist talked to Merck. they said it is not related. My advice to prospective users is to google It tells you joint pain is a side effect. So does I would take not take it again, if I had it to do over....[time will not tell because I have no record of chicken pox...

Related Reading: shingles

Comment from: Molly, 55-64 (Patient) Published: February 04

For those who just had the injection and expressing their satisfaction, give it time. I would have said the same three years ago.......then I not only developed shingles but PHN......Merck has NO interest in follow up based on their reaction to my call. EXCRUCIATING is an understatement! If that lack of interest, I wonder how they did their studies!!!!!

Comment from: Hurting and Worried, 55-64 Female on Treatment for less than 1 month (Patient) Published: January 01

I had the Zostavax injection on 12/21/11. That night severe itching started at the site of the shot on my right upper arm and all around it. Benedryl cream helped but did not stop the itching and I was not able to return to sleep that night. The next day I noticed the development of an oval rash just below the injection site, about 3"x2", and very itchy. Over the next several days below that site I also developed a scalelike skin condition, also very itchy. This itchy rash and scaling persisted as it was for almost a week causing much discomfort and lack of regular sleep before it began to rapidly fade along with the itching. However tonight I have developed stabbing intermittent SEVERE burning pain on the lower part of my right arm, just below the skin, pain that staggers me when it hits and leaves a burning and numbing sensation after fading. It comes and goes, seemingly at random. I just consulted our medical guide and this pain is almost exactly as the beginning pain of shingles is described. I am now afraid this injection may have given me the very illness I took it to prevent. Based upon my continuing experiences I would STRONGLY recommend anyone contemplating injection with this vaccine NOT to do so.

Related Reading: zostavax | rash

Comment from: jf, 55-64 on Treatment for less than 1 month (Patient) Published: June 30

On June 9, 2009, i had the shingles vaccination. Five days later I developed a severe cold sore on my bottom lip. Two weeks later, it went away. Two days after that, which was yesterday, June 29, I developed another "fever blister" on my lower lip. I remain very stressed out over this. I am not sure how to rate the effectiveness or my satisfaction. I will be very satisfied if I never get shingles, but the stress of the cold sores is awful. I cannot guarantee that it is a reaction to the shot, but I would bet that it is.

Related Reading: fever | stress | cold sores

Comment from: Notoshingleshot!, 55-64 on Treatment for 1-2 years (Patient) Published: November 15

Two years after the injection I got the worst case of shingles my doctor had seen. Two years later, I still have PHN. Just say no and chance it.....because of the vaccine, I didn't get typical symptoms until it was too late to give me antiviral. I was out of work for over three months!

Medical Editor: John P. Cunha, DO, FACOEP

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