If you’ve gotten a flu shot, Tdap, or other vaccination recently, you may notice that some feel like they hurt worse than others.  It turns out the reason for that can be multifactorial.  The length, gauge, and dullness of the needle can have an effect on the painfulness of the shot.  So too can the type of vaccine being injected. Experts indicate that some vaccines tend to hurt a little more than others, like ones targeting hepatitis A and B and Tdap (for tetanus, diphtheria and pertussis). It’s not totally clear why, but it’s possible that additives called adjuvants in these vaccinations, which are designed to strengthen the immune system response, can cause increased pain and inflammation.  Most medicines are pH balanced, but some experts reportedly say that vaccines that are more acidic can also cause more stinging when injected.

Consistency/volume and temperature can also impact the sting or soreness related with a shot as some shots are stored cold and are required to be warmed prior to administration.  As a general matter, shots given in muscles, or intramuscular injections, tend to be more painful and cause more of an inflammatory reaction in the arm than subcutaneous shots, which are given just under the skin.

Finally, location of where the shot is administered can have the greatest impact on both pain level and resulting injuries.  As detailed in our prior posts, shoulder injuries related to vaccine administration (otherwise known as “SIRVA”) are the most common injuries resulting from flu shots, Tdap, and other vaccines. SIRVA can happen when a vaccine is injected into the capsule of your shoulder joint instead of your deltoid muscle. It can also occur if the needle being used is not the correct gauge or length for you, or if it’s administered too high on your shoulder, or too deeply into your muscle.

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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