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Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Shoulder Injury Related to Vaccine Administration or SIRVA, vaccine attorney, vaccine injury, Vaccine Injury Compensation Program

Steps to Avoiding Shoulder Injuries Due to Vaccine

Vaccine-related shoulder injuries are avoidable. Since these injuries result from errors that occur during the administration of a vaccine, this means that (i) all vaccine recipients are equally at risk, and (ii) it is possible to avoid these injuries by following the appropriate protocols.

For medical professionals who administer vaccines, it is critical to know these protocols. However, as a person being vaccinated, it can be helpful to know them as well. Before getting your next vaccine injection, read the basic steps for avoiding vaccine shoulder injuries below, and be prepared to ask questions if you have any concerns before, during, or after your vaccination.

1. Ensure the Proper Needle is Used for the Patient

Needle sizing for vaccine injections depends upon the sex, age, and weight of the patient. The Immunization Action Coalition (IAC), which receives financial support from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) to educate medical professionals on vaccine recommendations, provides these guidelines:

  • Newborns – 0.625” needle length (thigh injection only)
  • Infants – 1” needle length (thigh injection only)
  • Toddlers – 0.625” to 1” needle length (for arm injections)
  • Children (age 3 to 18) – 0.625” to 1” needle length (for arm injections)
  • All adults under 130 pounds – 0.625” to 1” needle length
  • All adults between 130 and 152 pounds – 1” needle length
  • Female adults between 153 and 200 pounds – 1” to 1.5” needle length
  • Male adults between 153 and 260 pounds – 1” to 1.5” needle length
  • Female adults above 200 pounds – 1.5” needle length
  • Male adults above 260 pounds – 1.5” needle length

2. Ensure the Vaccination is Injected into the Proper Location

In order to avoid causing injury, vaccine injections should be administered in the deltoid muscle of the arm.  This may not apply to children, who may receive anterolateral thigh muscle injections. If a vaccine is administered in the wrong location, it can damage the muscles, ligaments, tendons or bursa in the arm or shoulder, potentially leading to a vaccine shoulder injury.

3. Ensure Vaccine is Injected at the Correct Angle

Although children may receive subcutaneous injections for certain types of vaccinations, all adults should receive intramuscular (IM) injections. Intramuscular injections should be made at a 90-degree angle to the surface of the skin, while subcutaneous injections should be made at an angle of 45 degrees.

4. Ensure Vaccine is Injected at the Correct Depth

Subcutaneous tissue lies immediately below the skin, covering the deltoid muscle in the arm. Both intramuscular and subcutaneous vaccinations must be administered to the correct depth in order to maximize effectiveness and minimize the risk of vaccine-related injuries.

5. Seek Prompt Medical Attention for Any Vaccine Administration Errors

Finally, if there is any risk that a vaccination has been administered improperly; the vaccine recipient should seek medical attention as soon as possible. Obtaining prompt treatment may be critical to mitigating the damage and reducing the duration of treatment and recovery.

Pain After Flu Shot? Contact the Law Offices of Leah V. Durant, PLLC

If you or your child has experienced pain after a flu shot or other vaccination, this could be a sign of a potentially serious vaccine injury. You should see your doctor, and contact an attorney about filing a claim under the National Vaccine Injury Compensation Program (VICP). For more information about VICP claims, contact the Law Offices of Leah V. Durant, PLLC to schedule a free consultation. Call (202) 800-1711 or send us a message online today.

Leah Durant Bio

Vaccine attorney Leah Durant represents clients in complex vaccine litigation matters. Leah Durant is principal of the Law Offices of Leah V. Durant, PLLC, a law office based in Washington, DC. Leah Durant 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.


About Leah Durant

Leah Durant is a former U.S. Department of Justice trial attorney who specializes in vaccine injury claims covered by the National Vaccine Injury Compensation Program. These cases are filed before the U.S. Court of Federal Claims (more commonly known as the “vaccine court”) in Washington, DC, where she has been admitted to practice since 2008. Originally from the Pacific Northwest, Leah Durant is a graduate of the University of Maryland College Park and received her law degree from the University of Maryland School of Law. Leah Durant’s legal practice concentrates on litigating complex vaccine injury and medical related cases. She has an extensive legal background and has experience representing individuals with complex medical claims.


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