Shoulder pain just from the flu shot?

We hear it from clients all the time—I was getting my annual flu shot and the pharmacist (or nurse, doctor, etc.) injected the needle higher on my shoulder than usual. Now I can barely move my arm.


Sometimes the pain is immediate and can be so jarring that it’s clearly not the typical pain associated with getting a shot. Other times, the pain comes on more gradually and begins with the worse-than-typical post-vaccine soreness that escalates to near immobility.


These types of shoulder injuries are rare, but they’re one of the most common injuries from vaccines. And it’s not the vaccine itself that causes the injury—vaccines save lives. But it’s the mechanical injury to the shoulder anatomy—typically puncturing the bursa underneath the shoulder—from an improperly placed injection that can cause lasting and sometimes permanent injury to the shoulder.


Over the last few years, these injuries—known as Shoulder Injury Related to Vaccine Administration or SIRVA—have become more common as more and more people are getting annual flu shots. In fact, SIRVA cases are the most-often filed cases in the National Vaccine Injury Compensation Program, now totaling more than $130 million in compensation awards.


Whether it’s flu season or not, if you think you’ve developed a shoulder injury from a misplaced vaccination, you’ve got limited time to file a claim. Give us call and we’ll fill you in on your options.

Post by Glen Sturtevant

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