Why Isn’t My Shoulder Pain Going Away After a Vaccine Injection?

flu-vaccine-injury-300When you receive a vaccine injection, it is normal to experience mild shoulder pain for a short period of time. However, this pain should fade fairly quickly; and, in most cases, it should not interfere with your work or regular household activities.

But, for some people, the pain doesn’t go away. For some people, it gets worse to the point that the pain becomes immobilizing. This level of shoulder pain after a vaccination is not normal, and could be a sign of a potentially-serious shoulder injury related to vaccine administration (SIRVA).

How Do Vaccination Errors Cause Shoulder Pain?

One of the primary causes of shoulder pain following a vaccination is improper vaccine administration. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) have published protocols for administering vaccine injections, and health care providers should adhere strictly to these protocols in order to avoid unnecessary injuries. Unfortunately, whether due to lack of training or inexperience, mistakes are common, and such mistakes often lead to painful injuries known as shoulder injury related to vaccine administration (SIRVA). The term “SIRVA” refers to a class of injuries including:

  • Adhesive capsulitis (frozen shoulder)
  • Brachial neuritis
  • Shoulder bursitis
  • Tendonitis

Learn more about common forms of SIRVA.

One of the most-common vaccination errors involves inserting the needle too low on the arm or too high up on the shoulder. Flu shots and other intramuscular (IM) vaccines should be injected into the deltoid muscle, which forms the rounded portion of the upper arm below the collar bone. Subcutaneous injections (including MMR and chickenpox vaccines) should be injected into the tissue above the triceps muscle. Injecting a vaccine too high or too low can cause damage to the muscle, nerves, or shoulder bursa.  This can lead to painful and debilitating shoulder injuries.

Along with wrong-site injection, other common vaccination errors include:

  • Inserting the needle at too steep of an angle (the needle should be inserted at 90 degrees to the surface of the skin for IM injections, while subcutaneous injections should be administered at an angle of 45 degrees);
  • Not injecting an IM vaccine deep enough below the skin (the needle should penetrate “deep into the muscle”);
  • Injecting a subcutaneous vaccine into the muscle (the needle should stop in the subcutaneous tissue above the muscle);
  • Using the wrong size needle (shorter needles should typically be used for children, adolescents and smaller adults); and,
  • Administering multiple injections too close together (IM and subcutaneous injections should be separated by a minimum of one inch).

If you or a family member is complaining of shoulder pain following a vaccination, you should seek medical attention promptly. Seeking immediate medical attention can help mitigate the long-term risks associated with certain forms of SIRVA, and it can also be crucial to recovering your medical expenses and other losses under the National Vaccine Injury Compensation Program (VICP).

Contact Vaccine Injury Lawyer Leah V. Durant

The National Vaccine Injury Compensation Program (VICP) is a federal government program that provides financial compensation to individuals diagnosed with vaccine-related injuries and illnesses. Vaccine injury lawyer Leah V. Durant has a decade of experience helping individuals recover their losses through the VICP. To learn more in a free and confidential consultation, please call (202) 800-1711 or request an appointment online today.

Leah Durant Bio

Experienced litigation attorney Leah Durant focuses on representing clients in complex vaccine litigation matters. Leah Durant is the owner and principal attorney of the Law Offices of Leah V. Durant, PLLC, a litigation firm based in Washington, DC. Leah Durant and her staff represent clients and their families who suffer from vaccine-related injuries, adverse vaccine reactions and vaccine-related deaths. The Law Offices of Leah V. Durant, PLLC is dedicated to assisting individuals in recovering the highest level of compensation as quickly and efficiently as possible. To learn more, contact vaccine attorney Leah Durant today.