As a lesser-known potential side effect of vaccination, Shoulder Injury Related to Vaccine Administration (SIRVA), is becoming a growing issue within the context of vaccine injury law – and is gaining increasing widespread attention. SIRVA is a condition causing serious, unrelenting pain in the area surrounding the vaccination site. In severe cases, SIRVA can cause stiffness and the total inability to use the arm for months following the shot. In cases of SIRVA, the patient experiences soreness and tenderness to a degree much higher than is typically experienced with an intramuscular (IM) shot, and the pain tends to linger for an extended period of time. For some sufferers of SIRVA, they are unable to continue with work-related tasks or are unable to perform regular daily activities such as cooking or cleaning.
SIRVA has been recognized by the Vaccine Injury Fund for years, however the reported cases of SIRVA have shot up in recent years – and experts are concerned as to why. Since 2011, the Office of Special Masters of the U.S. Court of Federal Claims has adjudicated over 112 SIRVA cases – with one-half of those cases occurring in the past year.
In August, the U.S. government proposed a rule change that would work to include SIRVA on the Vaccine Injury Table list – a list which sets forth known vaccine complications and makes receiving compensation much easier for victims.
Medical experts explain that SIRVA generally occurs when a vaccine is administered incorrectly. In a correct administration, the vaccine enters into the arm muscle. However, if the needle penetrates too high on the arm, the vaccine releases in an area known as the “bursa,” which is a fluid-filled sac protecting the tendons in the shoulder. As a result, the body’s immune system senses danger in the bursa, and attacks the area causing the sensation of a “frozen shoulder.” Some, but not all, patients have experienced relief with steroids and physical therapy.
If you are suffering from a recent vaccine and believe you may have SIRVA, contact an experienced vaccine attorney to explore your options.