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Shoulder Injury Related to Vaccine Administration or SIRVA

American Academy of Pediatrics Reports Increase in Cases of SIRVA

While shoulder injury related to vaccine administration (SIRVA) was already among the most-common vaccine-related injury, recently, the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) reported that, “[d]ata from the Vaccine Adverse Event Reporting System suggest SIRVA is being reported with increasing frequency.” The Vaccine Adverse Event Reporting System (VAERS) is a program maintained by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) that aggregates data from reported cases of vaccine-related illnesses and injuries.

So, what is SIRVA? As explained by the AAP:

“SIRVA identifies a specific condition that is associated with vaccine inadvertently administered into the deltoid bursa or joint space. Patients with SIRVA experience shoulder injury that is more severe than would be expected from just needle trauma.”

Although the AAP refers to SIRVA as a “specific condition,” there are a number of different types of shoulder injuries that can result from errors during the vaccine administration process. Adhesive capsulitis (“frozen shoulder”), brachial neuritis, bursitis and tendonitis are all common forms of SIRVA. However, all forms of SIRVA have one thing in common: They can be avoided with correct needle selection, appropriate injection location and proper immunization technique.

Vaccine-Related Shoulder Injuries Affect Children and Adults

According to the AAP, shoulder injury related to vaccine administration is reported less frequently among children despite the number of CDC-recommended childhood vaccinations. The AAP offers a few suggestions as to why this may be the case, including:

  • Many children receive injections in the thigh instead of the shoulder;
  • Bunching of the tissue in a child’s arm may increase the distance to the areas of the shoulder than can be damaged by improper vaccine administration; and,
  • Children’s shoulder bursae are smaller until fully developed, decreasing the chances of a harmful vaccination error.

However, due to the nature of SIRVA (resulting from errors during the immunization process rather than an adverse reaction to a particular vaccine ingredient), it is clear that these injuries can – and do – impact both children and adults. Additionally, another potential explanation for the lower reporting rate among children is that children simply are not able to fully communicate their symptoms.

Should You Be Concerned about SIRVA?

Unfortunately, all individuals who receive vaccinations need to be cognizant of the risk of SIRVA. While still relatively rare overall, SIRVA is a legitimate concern, and certain vaccine-related shoulder injuries can lead to long-term complications. Severe pain is typically among the earliest and most-severe symptoms of SIRVA. In the words of the AAP:

“Transient, mild shoulder discomfort following immunization in the deltoid muscle is a common side effect of vaccination. Severe, persistent shoulder pain in association with prolonged limitation of function is rare.”

In other words, pain that does not go away, that is unusually severe or that is accompanied by other symptoms could be a sign of SIRVA. To mitigate the risk of long-term effects, anyone who has concerns about a potential vaccine-related shoulder injury should seek medical and legal help as soon as possible.

Speak with National Vaccine Lawyer Leah V. Durant

Vaccine lawyer Leah V. Durant provides nationwide legal representation for individuals diagnosed with shoulder injuries related to vaccine administration. To learn how Leah Durant can help you seek financial compensation at little or no out-of-pocket cost to you, please call (202) 800-1711 or request a free consultation 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.


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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