SIRVA (Shoulder Injury Related To Vaccine Administration) is a term used to describe a range of shoulder injuries that result from the improper administration of vaccines. While vaccinations are generally safe and well-tolerated, the way a shot is given can impact the surrounding tissues, leading to pain and limited shoulder mobility. The anatomy of the shoulder is complex, with muscles, tendons, and ligaments working together to facilitate movement. When a vaccine is administered at the wrong angle, it can cause damage to these structures, resulting in inflammation, pain, and reduced functionality. The deltoid muscle, in particular, is susceptible to injury if the injection is too high or too deep and can cause complications such as pain, swelling, bleeding, infection, nerve damage, or abscess formation.

Some of the possible causes of giving an injection or vaccination at the wrong angle are:

  • Lack of training or experience: Some health care providers may not have adequate knowledge or skills to perform injections correctly. They may not know how to locate the appropriate site, how to measure the correct angle, how to insert the needle smoothly and quickly, or how to aspirate and inject the medication properly.
  • Poor visibility or lighting: Some injection sites may be difficult to see or access, especially if the patient has clothing that covers the area. Poor lighting and improper patient positioning may also make it hard to properly see the landmarks and the needle.
  • Patient movement or resistance: Some patients may be nervous, restless, or uncooperative during a vaccination. They may move their limb, tense their muscle, or pull away from the needle. This can affect the accuracy and stability of the needle placement and angle.
  • Needle size or type: Some needles may be too long, too short, too thick, or too thin for a vaccination which are typically given intramuscularly. The needle length should be appropriate for the patient’s age, weight, and muscle mass. The needle gauge should be suitable for the viscosity and volume of the medication. The needle type should also match the injection technique and site.

If you have shoulder pain, decreased range of motion, or other symptoms after receiving a flu shot, Tdap, or other vaccination, you should contact a physician as soon as possible and inform them of your symptoms and advise them that they started after receiving the subject vaccination. After that, please contact our firm as soon as possible. Our firm is experienced in litigating vaccine injury claims on behalf of those suffering shoulder injuries and we would be happy to answer any questions that you may have as well as to discuss a potential claim for compensation.


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