Many patients will suffer soreness in the arm or stiffness in the shoulder after a vaccine injection. In the majority of cases, this pain will only last a day or two. However, there are some instances where patients will suffer debilitating pain and be unable to move their arms for weeks, forcing them to miss work or school and potentially causing long-lasting health effects. Although these cases are rare, they have been recognized by medical communities as Shoulder Injury Related to Vaccine Administration (SIRVA).
What Patients Should Know About Vaccine-Related Shoulder Injuries
Unlike other kinds of vaccine reactions, SIRVA is caused by problems during the administration of the medicine rather than a reaction to the ingredients of the vaccination itself. Injuries typically occur when the injection is given too high on the shoulder or too deeply into the tissue, or when the medical professional uses an improper needle length. Injections that are supposed to go into the muscle tissue may puncture nearby tendons, ligaments, or bursa, causing pain and lost mobility.
SIRVA is relatively rare, but can still require a patient to undergo:
- Severe pain. The most telltale symptom of SIRVA is severe pain in the shoulder that begins within 48 hours of injection. Pain can be intermittent or persistent, and often becomes worse when a patient attempts to use the affected arm.
- Treatment and recovery. SIRVA is typically treated with medications such as pain relievers and anti-inflammatories. Some patients may require physical therapy exercises to regain the lost motion in the arm and shoulder joint, and others may need injections of corticosteroids to control pain and reduce swelling. If no other treatment is effective, a patient may require surgical repair of the affected ligaments and tendons in the shoulder. Many patients will experience pain even after their treatment is complete.
- Long-term effects. An injection into the bursa—the fluid filled sac that lubricates the shoulder joint—can result in painful inflammation of the shoulder known as bursitis. Patients may also suffer chronic pain, tendonitis in the joint, adhesive capsulitis (also called frozen shoulder), rotator cuff tears, impingement syndrome, or a permanent weakness in the affected arm. Any one of these conditions can cause ongoing medical care, loss of working ability, and other costly consequences.
How to Get Compensation After SIRVA
Patients who suffer injuries after vaccination may be eligible for compensation from the federal government’s National Vaccine Injury Compensation Program (NVICP). This program provides payment for complications of vaccines without the need for a patient to file a lawsuit. Patients will have to submit a petition to NVICP and provide evidence that proves their injuries were a direct cause of their shoulder injury.
There are a number of things the NVICP will have to examine before awarding a victim compensation. First, the organization only provides compensation for injuries caused by specific vaccines, including those subject to a federal excise tax and approved for both adults and children. In addition, payment will likely be denied if the patient had a history of shoulder problems before the vaccination occurred. Compensation is awarded based on the specific facts of each claim, and it is up to the federal court to decide how much should be paid to each claimant.
If your claim is denied, your only option is to seek compensation through a vaccine injury lawsuit. If you are successful, you may be able to recover the lost costs of your medical bills and disability, as well as collect legal costs and fees related to your vaccine injury claim. However, winning your case will depend on the strength of your evidence and your ability to prove the effects of the injury in court.
If you or someone you love has suffered severe shoulder pain after a vaccine administration, we can help you get justice. Call us today to schedule a free, no-obligation consultation with one of our attorneys, or take a moment to fill out our online contact form.