Leah Durant | Vaccine Attorney - Vaccine Blog

Tuesday, August 2, 2022

10 Important Facts about Shoulder Injuries Related to Vaccine Administration

Shoulder injuries related to vaccine administration (SIRVA) are among the most common vaccine-related injuries. Each year, we represent dozens of individuals who have been diagnosed with SIRVA after receiving flu shots, tetanus shots and other immunizations.

If you or a loved one has been diagnosed with SIRVA, or if you have concerns about the risk of SIRVA following a vaccination, it is important that you make informed decisions. Here are 10 important facts about shoulder injuries related to vaccine administration:

Fact #1: SIRVA Result from Errors During Vaccination

While many types of vaccine-related injuries and illnesses result from adverse reactions to vaccine ingredients, SIRVA is different. With SIRVA, vaccine recipients experience harm due to errors during their immunizations. This includes errors such as:

  • Using a wrong-size needle

  • Administering the injection in the wrong location (i.e., too low on the upper arm or too high on the shoulder)

  • Inserting the needle at the wrong angle (i.e., at an angle less than 90 degrees from the surface of the skin)

While there are steps vaccine recipients can take to reduce their risk of SIRVA, such as wearing a loose-fitting shirt and rolling up their sleeve past the shoulder, it is ultimately up to healthcare providers to ensure that they administer patients’ vaccines properly.

Fact #2: Receiving Any Type of Vaccination Presents a Risk for SIRVA

Since SIRVA results from errors during immunization, all vaccines administered via injection in the upper arm present risks for vaccine recipients. This includes, but is not limited to, common CDC-recommended vaccines such as:

  • Annual flu shots

  • Hepatitis A and B vaccines

  • Human papillomavirus (HPV) vaccines

  • Measles, mumps and rubella (MMR) vaccines

  • Meningococcal and pneumococcal vaccines

  • Tetanus, diphtheria and pertussis (DT, DTaP, DTP, Td and Tdap) vaccines

  • Varicella (chickenpox) vaccines

Fact #3: There Are Several Different Types of SIRVA

The term “shoulder injuries related to vaccine administration” encompasses several different types of injuries that can result from mistakes during immunizations. This includes injuries caused by damage to the muscles or soft tissue, damage to the nerves, or inflammation. Some of the more common types of SIRVA include:

  • Adhesive capsulitis (frozen shoulder)

  • Brachial neuritis

  • Rotator cuff tears

  • Shoulder bursitis

  • Tendonitis

Fact #4: SIRVA Can Have Several Different Effects

Given that there are several different types of SIRVA, individuals who are diagnosed with SIRVA can experience several different effects. While different forms of SIRVA may share some symptoms, each form has its own specific symptomatology, and each has its own specific treatment needs. Radiating pain, pain that worsens after vaccination, and limited range of motion are three common signs that medical treatment may be necessary.

Fact #5: SIRVA Can Have Chronic Effects in Some Cases

While many individuals who are diagnosed with SIRVA will fully recover with appropriate medical care, SIRVA can have chronic effects in some cases. Sadly, some vaccine recipients will experience chronic pain or permanent physical limitations as a result of their diagnoses. As discussed below, the National Vaccine Injury Compensation Program (VICP) pays compensation for the financial and non-financial costs of SIRVA, and, for those who experience chronic effects, recovering full compensation can be especially important.

Fact #6: Seeking Treatment Promptly Can Minimize the Risk of Complications

Generally speaking, seeking treatment promptly can minimize the risk of complications from SIRVA. With this in mind, anyone who is experiencing symptoms (or whose child is exhibiting symptoms) should see a doctor as soon as possible. When seeking treatment for possible SIRVA, vaccine recipients should explain their symptoms in detail and inform their doctors of their recent immunizations.

Fact #7: Medical Care for SIRVA Can Be Expensive

With the rising costs of medical care, seeking treatment for SIRVA can be expensive. Fortunately, individuals who are diagnosed with SIRVA (and parents of children who are diagnosed with SIRVA) can obtain compensation for their medical costs through the VICP in many cases. Vaccine recipients and parents should rely on their health insurance coverage in the short term, and they should speak with an attorney about filing a VICP claim promptly.

Fact #8: SIRVA Can Also Lead to Other Financial and Non-Financial Costs

In addition to medical expenses, SIRVA can lead to other financial and non-financial costs as well. These costs include out-of-pocket expenses, loss of income, and pain and suffering. For individuals who experience the effects of SIRVA for months or years, these costs can have a substantial impact on their day-to-day lives.

Fact #9: SIRVA is Covered Under the National Vaccine Injury Compensation Program

The National Vaccine Injury Compensation Program (VICP) is a federal government program that provides compensation to vaccine recipients and family members who are coping with the effects of vaccine-related injuries and illnesses. The VICP covers SIRVA resulting from all of the vaccines listed above, as well as the other CDC-recommended vaccines listed on the Vaccine Injury Table. The VICP has paid more than $4.4 billion to vaccine recipients and families since its establishment in 1988, and each year hundreds of claimants receive compensation for SIRVA and other vaccine-related medical conditions.

Fact #10: VICP Claimants Can Recover Compensation for the Financial and Non-Financial Costs of SIRVA

The VICP pays compensation for four categories of losses resulting from SIRVA: (i) medical expenses, (ii) other out-of-pocket costs, (iii) lost income, and (iv) pain and suffering. Compensation for pain and suffering is capped at $250,000, but claimants can recover full compensation for the financial costs of SIRVA. This includes not only costs claimants incur prior to filing but their future costs as well. While some claimants will need to go to court to recover their losses, most successful VICP claims are resolved via settlement.

Are You Entitled to Financial Compensation for SIRVA? Find Out for Free

If you think you may have a VICP claim for SIRVA (or if you don’t know and would like to find out), we invite you to schedule a free, no-obligation consultation. To discuss your VICP claim with attorney Leah V. Durant in confidence, please call 202-800-1711 or send us your contact information online today.


Leah Durant Bio

Experienced litigation attorney Leah Durant focuses on representing clients in complex vaccine litigation matters. Leah Durant is the owner and principal attorney of the Law Offices of Leah V. Durant, PLLC, a litigation firm based in Washington, DC. Leah Durant and her staff represent clients and their families who suffer from vaccine-related injuries, adverse vaccine reactions and vaccine-related deaths. The Law Offices of Leah V. Durant, PLLC is dedicated to assisting individuals in recovering the highest level of compensation as quickly and efficiently as possible. To learn more, contact vaccine attorney Leah Durant today.

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