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Shoulder Injury Related to Vaccine Administration or SIRVA, Vaccine Adverse Event Reporting System, vaccine injury

7 Signs That Shoulder Pain is Related to a Vaccination

Shoulder pain is among the most common side effects people experience after getting vaccinated. While this pain goes away for most people (usually in less than 48 hours), some vaccine recipients continue to experience pain for weeks or months—if not longer.

If you are dealing with shoulder pain, it is important to know whether your pain is related to a vaccine injury. If it is, you may be entitled to compensation for your medical bills, lost wages, and pain and suffering under the National Vaccine Injury Compensation Program (VICP).

Shoulder Pain May Be Related To a Vaccination If . . .

So, if you have lingering shoulder pain, could your pain be the result of a vaccine-related injury? Here are seven signs that you should speak with a lawyer about filing a claim under the VICP:

1. You Recently Received a Vaccination

Any time you get vaccinated, it is important to monitor for the symptoms of vaccine-related injuries and illnesses. While these injuries and illnesses are relatively rare in terms of the percentage of total vaccinations administered in the U.S., the Vaccine Adverse Event Reporting System (VAERS) still receives tens of thousands of reports annually.

While shoulder pain is a common side effect of getting vaccinated, it is also among the most common symptoms of vaccine injuries. So, if you recently received a vaccination and are experiencing shoulder pain, you should not simply ignore your pain but instead treat it as a sign that you may need medical attention.

2. The Person Who Administered Your Vaccine Inserted the Needle Too High On Your Shoulder or Too Low On Your Arm

Many vaccine-related injuries result from errors during the vaccine administration process. Two of the most common errors are (i) inserting the needle too high on the shoulder and (ii) inserting the needle too low on the arm. The needles used to administer vaccines are designed to be inserted into the deltoid muscle in the upper arm. Inserting the needle in the wrong location can cause muscle, soft tissue or nerve damage—all of which can potentially lead to long-term injuries.

3. The Person Who Administered Your Vaccine Inserted the Needle At the Wrong Angle

Another common vaccination error involves inserting the needle at the wrong angle. Generally, during vaccination, the needle should be inserted at a 90-degree angle to the surface of the skin. Inserting the needle at a lesser angle—even in the right location—can cause damage to the subcutaneous tissue above the deltoid muscle. Proper vaccine administration involves injecting the vaccine deep into the muscle; however, an improperly angled needle can lead to injury.

4. Your Shoulder Pain Isn’t Going Away (or Is Getting Worse Instead of Better)

According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), pain, redness and swelling at the injection site are common side effects of the flu shot and other vaccines. However, these side effects should all begin to subside fairly quickly, and exercise and applying a cool, damp washcloth should both help to alleviate vaccine recipients’ shoulder pain.

If your shoulder pain does not go away, or if it gets worse instead of better, this could be a sign of a vaccine injury. Whereas the localized pain caused by vaccine administration should generally last no more than 48 hours, the pain associated with vaccine injuries can spread throughout the arm and upper back, and it can potentially last weeks, months or years.

5. You Have Symptoms Other Than Shoulder Pain

If you have symptoms other than shoulder pain and localized redness and swelling at the injection site, this could also be a sign of a potentially-serious vaccine injury. For example, other common symptoms of vaccine-related injuries include:

  • Inflammation in the shoulder
  • Limited range of motion or shoulder immobility
  • Numbness in the arm, shoulder or back
  • Severe bruising
  • Severe stiffness in the shoulder
  • Shooting pain or pain that extends beyond the shoulder
  • Weakness in the arm, shoulder or back

These are just examples. If you have concerns about any symptoms you or a loved one has experienced following a vaccination, you should consult with a doctor promptly.

6. There Is No Other Explanation for Your Shoulder Pain

Another reason to consider the possibility of a vaccine-related shoulder injury is that there is no other logical explanation for your shoulder pain. While vaccine-related shoulder injuries are rare, they do happen. If you are experiencing shoulder pain following a vaccination and you have not recently strained your shoulder or experienced any other form of physical trauma, then it is reasonable to consider that your shoulder pain could be related to your vaccination.

7. Your Doctor Diagnoses You With a Form of SIRVA

The final—and most obvious—sign that shoulder pain is related to a vaccination is a SIRVA diagnosis. Shoulder injuries related to vaccine administration (SIRVA) are among the most common vaccine-related medical conditions, and there are data to suggest that cases of SIRVA are on the rise. Shoulder injuries that can result from errors during vaccine administration include:

  • Adhesive capsulitis (frozen shoulder)
  • Brachial neuritis
  • Rotator cuff tears
  • Shoulder bursitis
  • Tendonitis

For vaccine recipients who are diagnosed with SIRVA, following a prescribed treatment plan is crucial for mitigating the risk of unnecessary and long-term complications. Filing a VICP claim is important as well. The VICP covers vaccine recipients’ financial and non-financial losses resulting from SIRVA, and it pays claimants’ legal fees separately from their awards of financial compensation.   

Find Out If You Are Entitled to Financial Compensation for SIRVA

Attorney Leah V. Durant has helped numerous vaccine recipients obtain compensation for SIRVA under the National Vaccine Injury Compensation Program. If you have questions about filing a VICP claim for SIRVA, we encourage you to contact us promptly for a free, no-obligation consultation. To schedule an appointment at your convenience, please call 202-800-1711, or tell us how we can reach you online and we will be in touch as soon as possible.

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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