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Shaking The Blind Faith in Merck Shingles Vaccine

By Anne Dachel

I recently wrote about the news of a suit against Merck over damage from the shingles vaccine.  There are claims of serious side effects, including death associated with this vaccine.

The Zostavax vaccine is recommended for every adult “fifty years of age and older” in the Merck TV ad, yet the CDC says people 60 years of age or older should get shingles vaccine.”

On the CDC website it also states that the shingles vaccine is safe. “No serious problems have been identified with shingles vaccine.”

Despite the CDC’s claim that the shingles vaccine carries no real risks, the FDA wrote to Merck in February 2016 telling them to add, Eye Disorders: necrotizing retinitis (patients on immunosuppressive therapy)’ to their product information.'

KP Stoller, a physician in San Francisco and author of the book, Incurable Me (Skyhorse 2016), is a strong critic of the current vaccine program because of its lack of safety science and oversight.

  1. Dr. Stoller, what concerns do you have about the way this vaccine is being sold to the public, especially with regard to what Merck says about it in their product information sheet?
  2. A. There is ZERO credible safety data on "vaccines" [defined as (adjuvants etc. + antigen)] where no saline vs. vaccine comparisons have been done. Vaccines are not tested for safety against a saline placebo, they are tested against a solution that contains all the adjuvants, metals, DNA, and other toxins etc. but just minus the infectious disease antigen itself - in this case the varicella virus. So, the safety data and adverse event data Merck cites in their package insert does not have a lot of meaning.

It would be the same as if Monsanto tested RoundUp for safety and compared it not to water but to RoundUp sans Glyphosate (the reported active ingredient). Even without Glyphosate, RoundUp is very toxic... one of the ingredients is 10,000 times more toxic than Glyphosate itself. Would comparing those two substances RoundUp with Glyphosate vs RoundUp without Glyphosate be a fair comparison for safety purposes?

Yet that is exactly what the vaccine manufacturers are allowed to pass off as an adequate safety comparison. RoundUp without Glyphosate isn't anymore a placebo than the varicella vaccine without the varicella.

  1. What is the connection between the live virus chicken pox vaccine, now universally recommended for every child, and shingles in the adult population, which Merck claims will affect one in three adults in their lifetime.?
  2. It has been two decades since the USA implemented Universal Varicella (Chicken Pox) vaccination. And we now know a whole lot more information about what this program has caused because what happened when children are no longer circulating wild Chicken pox virus (varicella or VZV) in the population is that adults who once had VZV as children but were unable to eradicate the virus completely from their bodies are no longer exposed to the wild virus and their own immunity drops.

When these adults lose their immunity to the virus, it comes out of its hiding places (the body’s dorsal-root ganglia) and that adult develops herpes zoster (HZ).  Before VZV vaccination there were about 4 million cases per year and 1 million cases of HZ. Fifty children would die each year from complications (90 people die each year from lightening sticks just as a point of reference).

Now, initially the vaccine was found to be very effective but that was because not everyone was vaccinated so those that were vaccinated kept getting their vaccine induced immunity boosted by the wild virus just like the adults were keeping the HZ at bay for the same reason. Ten years after its introduction the efficacy of the vaccine had dropped to less than 60%, because there were almost no unvaccinated kids circulating the wild virus. At the same time HZ cases among adults went up 90%.

Big Pharma's ever ready answer was to vaccinate the adults to replace the natural immune boosting presence of circulating wild virus.

The cost of vaccinating adults with a VZV vaccine to achieve protection close to that which occurs naturally when VZV incidence could cost as much as $40 billion dollars – that is a lot a chicken scratch to Big Pharma for a vaccine that wasn’t really needed in the first place.

Essentially, the VZV vaccine shifted the disease from children to an older age group and the vaccine lost efficacy in the childhood age group as well for the same reason - vaccinated children benefited from exposure to their peers who caught wild chicken pox.

In other words, while it would not be in Big Pharma's interest to let kids opt out of the VZV vaccine it would benefit those who did get vaccinated if there were a lot of other kids who weren't vaccinated.

But to Big Pharma this isn't about disease control this is about money only. The cost-benefit of universal VZV vaccination needs to take into account the risk of off-setting the natural balance that results in continual disease and expensive remediation’s for illnesses that would never have taken place without the vaccination being given in the first place. With the meningitis vaccine is it worth killing three children and making 1000 more seriously ill to prevent one case of the disease?

This is a perfect example to demonstrate that vaccinology is far more nuanced than physicians and the public understand. It is not that vaccines are bad, it is you don't force them on everyone, because you end up working against public health interests. The goal should not be to vaccinate everyone, the goal should be to protect the public health and in this case we get better disease control if everyone isn't vaccinated. Additionally, most people think that most vaccines control the spread of disease, but they don't. Many control how sick any one person gets should they come down with the disease, but the vaccine does not control the spread of that disease.

This is just not information Big Pharma wants politicians and the public to know. They want to sell their vaccines to everyone and many times over and over... it is all about the money to them. The IPV vaccine for polio is not capable of stopping the spread of polio, so why force it on the population? I could keep listing examples, but I think I made my point.

I also contacted Robert Krakow for a response. He was one of the principal authors of "Unanswered Questions", the revelation in 2011 that our federal government had for years been compensating children for vaccine injuries that included autism, and he is a former NY City prosecutor who now specializes in vaccine injury cases.

This is what he had to say about Zostavax.

Given the obvious risk of serious injury from the Zostavax vaccine, any person over 50 should proceed with caution regarding the commercially promoted recommendation to get this vaccine. While shingles can be serious in rare cases, my personal view is that efforts to maintain good health and a strong immune system will serve us better in preventing shingles than obtaining this vaccine, which has the undeniable risk of serious injury. There are almost 5000 reports of adverse events after Zostavax. The vaccine contains substances that can provoke autoimmunity, including human DNA contamination, gelatin, neomycin and other problematic substances. As with many vaccines, I am not convinced that the vaccine or its components have been properly tested.

The promotion of Zostavax on television and other places is as irresponsible as it is inappropriate. The value of the vaccine is overstated, while the risk of adverse reactions is downplayed. This skews the benefit/cost analysis that all of us must employ when we individually decide to take any vaccine or drug.  

The result of all this is that an individual’s right to make informed decisions about his or her health is being overridden by bloated claims of efficacy and safety, coupled with risks that are hidden from view. Because of misinformation, our informed consent is, effectively, being overridden. This is not an acceptable situation for any American.

Our emerging experience with Zostavax mirrors our experience with childhood vaccines. Benefits are exaggerated while risk is minimized, all in the context of relentless promotion. The difference with Zostavax is that we can more easily see when injury occurs in adults as compared with developmental injuries in children that are difficult to recognize and diagnose, and are often confused with unrelated disorders. The sad result for both adults and children is the same: unnecessary injury and suffering, often lifelong.

It is the policy of our nation that vaccine injuries do occur and the victims of vaccines should be compensated. For the most part, it is unknown how such injuries occur and how often they occur. Despite this reality, there exists relentless commercial promotion of vaccines. For the sake of the health of our people, this must stop. Public education regarding vaccine risk should be increased, and more rigorous testing of all vaccines brought to market should be applied. Unless this happens, the disturbing trend of increasing vaccine injury will persist as new and exotic vaccines are introduced into the marketplace with dubious justification, except for the bountiful commercial windfall it confers on vaccine manufacturers.

Krakow also addressed the question posed by a friend: "Can you explain why someone is able to sue Merck over Zostavax? Is the NVICP only for childhood vaccines?"

This was his answer:

The National Childhood Vaccine Injury Act (NCVIA) created the Vaccine Injury Compensation Program (VICP), which provides a legal mechanism for determining whether vaccine injuries for covered vaccines should be compensated. The key phrase is "covered vaccine." To be a "covered vaccine" for which compensation is available under the VICP, a vaccine must be added to the vaccine Table, either by legislation or through administrative rule making by the Secretary of Health and Human Services. This applies to all vaccines, whether for adults or children. While the NCVIA includes the term "Childhood" in its title, this is misleading as adult vaccines may be covered under the Vaccine Act. In fact, in recent years most cases that have been compensated have been filed by adults, primarily due to the increased number of doses of the influenza vaccine that have been administered, mostly to adults.

Zostavax, which is a shingles/herpes zoster vaccine manufactured by Merck, is approved for adults over 50 years of age. It is NOT a covered vaccine under the NCVIA and, therefore, cannot be subject to a claim for compensation for vaccine injury under the VICP. The vaccine could be covered under NCVIA, but at present is not. I do not believe there has been an effort by the Secretary of HHS to bring NCVIA/VICP coverage to Zostavax, but this could happen.

The herpes zoster vaccine that is covered under NCVIA/VICP is the varicella vaccine, known by its trade name, Varivax, also manufactured by Merck. Varivax is included in the ACIP/CDC recommended childhood vaccine schedule. (Usually, but not always, when ACIP recommends a vaccine, steps are taken to add the vaccine to the NCVIA/VICP Table of covered vaccines.)  

Both Varivax and Zostavax are diploid human cell line manufactured vaccines, manufactured using the MRC-5 (Medical Research Council cell strain 5) cell line. The Varivax has been shown to contain human DNA contamination Zostavax also likely contains human DNA contamination. An experienced pharmaceutical researcher who has examined Zostavax has advised me that Zostavax for adults contains five time more human DNA contamination than the Varivax vaccine for children. It has been theorized that the DNA contamination can cause injury by either DNA insertion into the human genome or by provoking autoimmunity, although this theory is controversial and unaccepted to date in scientific or legal venues. I am cocounsel for the petitioners in a proceeding pending in the VICP, in which petitioners claim that the diploid human cell line vaccines cause autism.

The Law Office of Robert J. Krakow is accepting representation in Zostavax claims outside the VICP, in addition to VICP claims for other vaccines. Zostavax claims brought in the VICP have been dismissed as not covered by NCVIA.

I am available to answer any of your vaccine injury related questions.

Robert Krakow

 The issue of vaccine safety is not just the claim that vaccines cause autism, something everyone quickly says has been debunked. We need to realize all vaccines carry real risks. This is true for any medical product or procedure, yet in the case of vaccines, few people are willing to acknowledge it.

Anne Dachel is Media Editor for Age of Autism.




You're right they are bastards. Doctors blamed parents for causing their children's autism for more than forty years and some no doubt still do, and now, for fear of causing another vaccine scare and ending up like Dr Wakefield, they blame girls for causing their own paralysis, tell them they're mentally ill and threaten them with an enforced stay in mental hospital.

When are people going to wake up? And when are doctors going to be brave and stand up for the victims of vaccine injury?

Video of Mia on the Daily Mail:

Fortunately, reading through the comment section, not everyone is buying the provax propaganda like Mekemp has: "Vaccines save lives. Yes there are cases where there are adverse affects, but this is extremely rare. Anti vaccine propaganda is dangerous and misleading. It's very sad if this girl has been affected, but the overal benefits for the health of the majority far outways the risk and affects felt by an unlucky few."

Jeannette Bishop

A little OT, but I've wondered if one of the reasons that infants were first, or early on, recommended for the flu vaccine, along with pregnant women, with research failing to find any value in giving the vaccine (never mind no true safety testing) to those groups was to get that vaccine covered by the NVIC, since some adults were already taking it?

A more cynical reason might have been to keep thimerosal injections happening in infancy and accelerated to in utero. I'm cynical enough to contemplate that both might have been motivations together.

But maybe the system functions like a kind of cancer that keeps trying to grow and expand territory absent of healthy purpose? But why don't so many in the system seem to feel more responsibility for what happens than individual cancer cells in a culture (or should I say, individual cells succumbing to cancer in a culture)?

Laura Hayes

I hear you on that one, George Stevens.

George stevens

Starting to loose some faith in trump and the swamp draining myself. Thought he would help. Starting to doubt that decision.

Laura Hayes

Related...yet ANOTHER Gardasil victim:

The sheer immorality and inexcusable criminal behavior of doctors who would tell this mother and her daughter that this horrific level of disability stems from psychological issues, instead of admitting it was the vaccine and immediately trying to help this darling young girl. Bastards!


The past 100 years is only 1,200 months .
"Medicalised Mandates , Not Now,Not Ever!"

The East India Company modern day Business Model Genetically spliced with the New Dark Age of The Fankfurt School Politicized ideologies using every Machiavellian subversion techniques ever known has created a political/ commercialiased Monster of so called Public Health "IMPROVERS"
that makes Hitler look like, and sound like, little more than a primary schoolyard , playground bully .
"The Lackey of a Lackey is worse than ,the servant of a servant ?

Merck Sucks

A model for resolving self-driving litigation
Vaccine courts could provide framework

Laura Hayes

Protecting loved ones from Merck...

It's not enough, apparently, to have to protect your newborns from Merck's HepB vaccine, your infants and young children from Merck's Rotavirus, MMR, and Varicella vaccines, your pre-teens and teens from Merck's HPV Gardasil and pneumococcal addition to others...but now, you must protect yourselves and your aging loved ones from Merck's Zostavax shingles vaccine.

Thank you for this article, Anne. I have shared it widely. Below is some additional info for AoA readers. Being forewarned is being forearmed!

Read about Merck's vaccine products here:

And let us not forget that Merck made and marketed the deadly Vioxx:

Below is a brief excerpt from this article about Merk's Vioxx, for which victims and their families did not have to go through a kangaroo court like the VICP. Additionally, Merck had to pay the $4.85 billion settlement, not taxpayers, as is the case with their vaccine-induced injuries and deaths. Notice, no one went to jail. Why is that?

June 2006: The seventh trial against Merck begins, with plaintiff Elaine Doherty, 68, alleging the painkiller caused her heart attack and subsequent double heart bypass surgery. The trial, before the New Jersey superior court, is the first since the release of the new Vioxx research results. The data raises questions about how quickly the drug could cause harm and could undermine Merck's credibility.

Out of the six cases that have already gone to trial, Merck has won three and lost three.

Research published in the medical journal Lancet estimates that 88,000 Americans had heart attacks from taking Vioxx, and 38,000 of them died.

November 2007: Merck announces it will pay $4.85 billion to end thousands of lawsuits over its painkiller Vioxx. The amount, to be paid into a so-called settlement fund, is believed to be the largest drug settlement ever.


I sent the email and did sign my full name, however after a near death experience I prefer not to. thanks for understanding. kws

[email protected]
Mon, Mar 27, 2017 at 8:43 AM
Chicken Pox Vaccine and Vaccines in General

Dear Dr. Price,
I am the parent of a vaccine injured child who succumbed to autism 6 weeks after his MMR vaccine.

I am writing to request that you require vaccine manufacturers to perform placebo controlled clinical trials before making claims about vaccine safety and efficacy.

As you know, randomized, double-blind, placebo controlled trials are the gold standard for drug safety, including vaccines.

Thank you for listening,

Bob Moffit

"Zostavax, which is a shingles/herpes zoster vaccine manufactured by Merck, is approved for adults over 50 years of age. It is NOT a covered vaccine under the NCVIA and, therefore, cannot be subject to a claim for compensation for vaccine injury under the VICP. The vaccine could be covered under NCVIA, but at present is not. I do not believe there has been an effort by the Secretary of HHS to bring NCVIA/VICP coverage to Zostavax, but this could happen."

Frightening words our new Sec of HHS ... Tom Price .. may soon be asked to protect Merck's Zostavax by awarding the vaccine VICP coverage.

I say frightening for two reasons

#1 .. that ANOTHER questionable MERCK vaccine .. Zostavax .. may be given complete "liability protection" .. forcing TAXPAYERS to AGAIN pay any justified compensation to those seriously injured .. while Merck once again avoids being held either financially or criminally liable for the damage MERCK has CAUSED.

#2 .. Should new HHS Sec Price .. decide to add Zostavax to the ever-growing list of VICP vaccine coverage .. it will send a strong signal President Trump's administrative appointees .. who are the only people who can help our President fulfill his campaign vow to "drain the swamp" .. is likely to fail .. since Price's decision would be clear and convincing evidence .. he is just another defender of the very swamp he is expected to drain.



Here in my part of the UK the vaccine is not offered until you are 70 years old and they are happy to give it with the flu vaccine as the same time if one doesn't get you the other will.

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