SIRVA: A Risk with Every Vaccine

Updated: Dec 5, 2018

The term SIRVA stands for “Shoulder Injury Related to Vaccine Administration.”  Some minor shoulder discomfort is common after many vaccines.  But a SIRVA injury is different.  It is a type of shoulder injury caused by the injection of a vaccine into the shoulder, either from the accidental injection of the vaccine into the shoulder joint or trauma from the needle itself.  A SIRVA injury is not like the typical post-vaccine discomfort; it’s instead very painful, begins very quickly after the vaccination, and does not subside.


SIRVA injuries are typically caused by the flu shot because so many are given each year and they are typically injected into the shoulder.  But any injection into the shoulder area has the potential to cause SIRVA.  Healthcare providers are trained on how to administer a vaccine injection properly.  But failure to use appropriate injection techniques can result in a SIRVA injury.


The type of pain that should be especially concerning is sharp, debilitating pain that is more than just soreness and minor discomfort. When the pain radiates beyond the injection site in the shoulder or upper arm and results in the inability to move the shoulder and arm without significant pain, this may be something more than the normal soreness that can be expected from a vaccination.


While such injuries can be life-changing and difficult to heal, SIRVA injuries are thankfully covered by the National Vaccine Injury Compensation Program. Contact our vaccine injury lawyers if you have suffered from a shoulder injury as a result of a vaccine.

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