Shoulder Injury Related to Vaccine Administration (SIRVA)

When you get a flu or tetanus shot, some shoulder pain is normal and expected. However, you can also experience significant pain and serious injuries.

When that happens, you’ve experienced SIRVA, a shoulder injury related to vaccine administration. It’s actually a rare condition.

SIRVA Symptoms

If you experience SIRVA, you notice symptoms like these:

  • Persistent, intense shoulder pain that lasts days, weeks, or months
  • Limited range of motion in your shoulder
  • Inflammation in your rotator cuff (shoulder tendinitis)
  • Inflammation and irritation of the bursa, a fluid-filled sac in your shoulder (shoulder bursitis)
  • Stiffness and pain in your shoulder joint (adhesive capsulitis, and also commonly called “frozen shoulder”)

At first, these symptoms don’t sound so bad. But in some cases, patients have their nerves damaged for years and experience excruciating pain. The pain gets so debilitating that powerful medications are necessary to keep it under control. Some people even have to get surgery to correct the condition.

What Causes SIRVA?

SIRVA injuries happen with flu vaccines, tetanus vaccines, and any other vaccines injected into your shoulder. SIRVA injuries are believed to be caused by the injection itself.

For example, it is believed that many injuries are caused by improper professional technique or the use of excessively long needles. In a few cases, the injection aggravates a condition that already exists.

How Common is SIRVA?

No one knows the exact numbers. Most guesstimates hold that it rarely happens. For example, a study by Barnes et. al. found 167 cases of SIRVA from 2010 – 2012.

Most happened to women. However, the government doesn’t require reporting for SIRVA cases, so no one knows the precise number.

How Do You Treat SIRVA?

For most people, a combination of physical therapy, medication, and cortisone injections keep the pain under control. Surgery may be necessary for others.

Unfortunately, one study didn’t have the best news to report about recovery: just 31% of those studied fully recovered, while 69% continued to experience symptoms.

What is Being Done to Prevent Future SIRVA Injuries?

Not too much. Right now, preventative action is up to the facility offering the vaccine.

The condition happens relatively rarely, so it hasn’t gotten much attention. The CDC has released guidelines for medical professionals to follow when administering vaccines.

Other than that, prevention of this injury falls on the administering professional and company. You can take charge and ask the company what they do to make sure your shot is safe. You’ll want to know about the skills of the professionals they have on staff, and the techniques they use to administer your vaccine.

Fortunately, there’s plenty of places you can go if you don’t trust what you hear when you ask questions.

What Should I Do if I Think I’ve Had a SIRVA Injury?

It’s fairly easy to notice SIRVA injuries. About half of all people who get this condition experience noticeable pain immediately. Almost everyone notices intense shoulder pain 24-48 hours after getting a vaccine.

First, take care of your health. You should notify your doctor of your symptoms immediately. See what treatment you’ll need to recover from the injury. Keep a personal record of all contacts you have with medical professionals and your understanding of what happened at each appointment.

If a lawsuit is appropriate down the road, this also gives you evidence to support your case. Legally, your case looks more credible if you get treatment immediately. If you don’t, the court will wonder why you waited. And once a lawsuit is filed, the paper trail of your medical history will help establish your injury.

Can I Take Legal Action for my SIRVA Injury?

Yes you can.

Fortunately, the federal government fully acknowledges vaccines cause SIRVA injuries. They’ve set up the National Vaccine Injury Compensation Program (VICP) to manage these cases.

It’s comparatively easy (but still legally medically and legally complex) to prove your case in court. And the only court in the nation that hears these cases is the US Court of Federal Claims in Washington, DC. On top of that, the lawyer representing you must be admitted to practice in front of that court.

If you believe you’ve experienced a SIRVA injury, you may be entitled to up to $250,000 in compensation for your pain, suffering, and anguish, as well as:

  • Compensation for your lost ability to produce income
  • Medical bills
  • Other out of pocket costs

Even better, at the end of your case, Howie Law, PC will submit an application for payment of attorneys’ fees and expenses to the vaccine injury program. You will never pay a penny out of your pocket to Howie Law, PC – win or lose!

And you get a free consultation with our “Super Lawyer,” as rated by Thomson Reuters.

To get your free consultation, contact Howie Law online or call 866-828-2028 today. All your information stays 100% confidential.