Lots of people report soreness and discomfort after getting a vaccination, like the flu shot. Most people also have experienced the longer lasting pain that typically comes after a tetanus vaccination.
This soreness is common and usually is a perfectly normal reaction to the injection and typically lasts only a day or two.
The cause is typically just the body’s natural reaction to the injection and the vaccination. There may be some localized inflammation around the injection site that can cause pain, and the body’s production of antibodies in response to the vaccine may also result in some discomfort and soreness.
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.
Such injuries are known as Shoulder Injuries Related to Vaccine Administration (or SIRVA). These injuries are the result of physical damage to the shoulder or arm from the injection of the vaccine. While such injuries can certainly be life changing and difficult to heal, thankfully SIRVA injuries are now covered by the Vaccine Injury Compensation Program.