What is SIRVA?
Shoulder Injury Related to Vaccine Administration (SIRVA) causes intense, prolonged shoulder pain, with limited range of motion, and sometimes shoulder damage that requires surgery. SIRVA involves painful inflammation of the deltoid bursa, or the shoulder joint space.
Can the Flu Shot Cause SIRVA?
Flu shots cause roughly 70% of shoulder vaccine injuries. This is because millions of flu shots are given in the deltoid muscle of the upper arm. Another problem is that flu shots are often given by inexperienced providers.
What Causes SIRVA?
SIRVA occurs when a vaccine is injected too high or too deep in the shoulder, and the needle accidentally hits a fluid-filled sac called the bursa. SIRVA is also caused when the needle hits nerves, bone, or sensitive tissues. In rare cases, SIRVA occurs when a vaccine is injected properly, likely due to an immune reaction to the vaccine.
What Else is SIRVA Called?
- Shoulder Injury Related to Vaccine Administration
- Frozen Shoulder Syndrome
- Adhesive Capsulitis
- Post-injection inflammatory reaction
- Subacromial bursitis
- Subdeltoid bursitis
- Bicipital tendonitis
- Humerus contusions
- Supraspinatus injury
- Subacromial bursa effusion
- Impingement syndrome
- Complex regional pain syndrome
- Rotator cuff injury
- Parsonage-Turner syndrome
- Brachial neuritis
- Ulnar neuropathy
How Do the Symptoms of SIRVA Begin?
It is normal to experience temporary shoulder pain after vaccine. When the pain lasts for days, weeks, or years, it may be symptoms of SIRVA.
The symptoms of SIRVA usually begin within 48 hours after a vaccine was injected into the deltoid muscle of the upper arm or shoulder. The first symptoms include sudden, severe, and long-lasting shoulder pain, resulting in a limited range of motion — but without any infection.
What are the Symptoms of SIRVA?
- Arm pain
- Shoulder pain
- Intense, stabbing pain
- Shoulder dysfunction
- Limited range of motion
- Lack of flexibility
Does SIRVA Go Away?
SIRVA can go away in as little as 6 months, but it can persist for up to several years, according to a study of 13 adults with SIRVA that was published by the Vaccine Injury Compensation Program in January 2013. About 50% of victims developed shoulder pain immediately after vaccination, 90% had pain within 24 hours, and 30% of the victims eventually required surgery to treat shoulder pain.
Why is SIRVA Shoulder Pain So Severe?
Patients with SIRVA experience pain that is far more serious than what would normally be expected from needle trauma. The pain can be so debilitating that a person is unable to work, lift heavy objects, or use their arm normally. Experts believe that an immune reaction to the vaccine ingredients may be why symptoms of SIRVA are so severe.
How is SIRVA Diagnosed?
Anyone suffering from persistent shoulder pain after a vaccine should see their doctor as soon as possible. The doctor will likely refer the patient to an orthopedic surgeon, who will diagnose SIRVA with an MRI. The MRI may show inflammation, fluid collection, and swelling. SIRVA is sometimes diagnosed as another type of shoulder injury, such as bursitis, tendinitis, adhesive capsulitis, or a rotator cuff tear.
How is SIRVA Treated?
Treatment for mild cases of SIRVA usually involves physical therapy 2-3 times per week for a few months. If physical therapy is not beneficial, the patient may need corticosteroid injections in the shoulder to decrease inflammation. These steroid injections are not usually enough to cure SIRVA, but they can temporarily relieve pain.
Will I Need Surgery for SIRVA?
If the severe pain does not go away with physical therapy and corticosteroids, surgery may be necessary. This is often the case when SIRVA has caused substantial damage to the bones, bursa, or tendons. Surgeons may need to remove the bursa or repair tendons.
Can I File a SIRVA Lawsuit?
Around $70 million dollars have been awarded to about 500 people who were diagnosed with SIRVA since the condition was first identified.
In 2016 alone, the Vaccine Injury Compensation Program paid nearly $30 million in financial compensation to 202 people who developed SIRVA after receiving a vaccine.
How Much Money Has Been Paid in SIRVA Lawsuit Settlements?
Here is data on how much money has been paid to SIRVA victims since 2011:
What Vaccines Can Cause SIRVA?
The Vaccine Injury Compensation Program will only pay compensation to people who developed SIRVA after receiving a vaccine that is covered by the program. These vaccines include:
- Flu shot (influenza)
- Trivalent influenza vaccine
- Quadrivalent influenza vaccine
- Hepatitis A
- Hepatitis B
- Hib (Haemophilus influenzar type b)
- Human Papillomavirus (HPV)
- Pneumococcal conjugate
- Polio (IPV, OPV)
- Pertussis (whooping cough)
- And more