SIRVA – Shoulder Vaccine Injury

SIRVA or Shoulder Injury Related to Vaccine Administration is a medicolegal term that was introduced in about 2010.  SIRVA was not a household name for many years, however, in recent years, awareness of this injury has increased.  SIRVA can happen after just about any vaccine, but it is most commonly experienced after the flu-vaccine, likely due to the number of flu vaccines administered each flu season.  While there are still many people, including physicians, who have not heard of SIRVA, awareness is growing as an increasing number of SIRVA sufferers seek answers for their symptoms and share their experiences through social media and other online platforms.

While described on medical websites as a rare occurrence, SIRVA is an injury that can occur when a vaccine, like the flu shot, that is meant to be injected into the deltoid muscle of the shoulder, is administered too high and/or too deep. Vaccines, including the flu vaccine, are designed to be injected into the deltoid muscle because that area is very vascular and has good blood flow.  When the person administering the shot injects it too high, the vaccine can enter the bursae (fluid-filled sacs) in the shoulder joint instead.  If the vaccine is injected into the bursae, an individual may have an adverse reaction to the active ingredients in the vaccine.  This adverse reaction can cause an inflammatory immune response and can lead to bursitis or other painful conditions of the tendons, ligaments and bones of the shoulder. The resulting inflammation and injuries can develop immediately upon vaccination, or they can take hours or days to manifest.

SIRVA does not happen to everyone who receives a vaccine, but that’s small consolation if it happens to you.   To add insult to injury, not many doctors are familiar with SIRVA or have a protocol for how to treat it.  At best, symptoms are managed while the sufferer hopes for permanent resolution. Some have even described the pain as agony.

What are some symptoms of SIRVA?

  • Persistent shoulder pain
  • Reduced range of motion
  • Inability to reach overhead
  • Weakness in the arm
  • Inability to sleep on the affected side
  • Waking from sleep due to pain in the shoulder

What are some diagnoses that fall under the umbrella of SIRVA?

  • Frozen shoulder (adhesive capsulitis)
  • Bursitis (inflamed bursae)
  • Shoulder Pain
  • Impingement
  • Limited range of motion
  • Torn rotator cuff 

While some people may suffer from a mild case of SIRVA and may recover with little or no medical intervention, for many, it can take years to recover from SIRVA – and they can be years of pain, limitations, physical therapy, medications, surgeries, steroid shots, missed work and frustration. It goes without saying that dealing with chronic pain or illness can also have psychological ramifications.  A person dealing with SIRVA or any chronic condition over a long period of time can become depressed and suffer from feelings of despair thinking that there are activities that they once enjoyed that they may never enjoy again.

As with any condition that is not widely understood by doctors, it may be difficult to find a medical professional that understands how to treat this injury.  Many medical providers will probably focus on symptom management, including physical therapy, pain medication and eventually maybe even surgery, but they may not understand how the injury originated.  If you began to experience any of the symptoms noted above after receiving a flu vaccine, or any other vaccine, it is important to tell your medical provider that your pain began after receiving the vaccine and you may even need to ask them if they have heard of SIRVA.

Can I get compensated for my SIRVA injury?

Did you know you that in many cases, lawsuits against doctors, manufacturers, pharmacists, or other vaccine administrators who caused the injury are prohibited? Instead, there is a program called the National Vaccine Injury Compensation Program (NVICP) that was created by Congress to handle vaccine injury cases.  While the NVICP is a no-fault program where victims of vaccine injury can file for compensation, this is still a litigative process so while you can file a claim yourself, using an attorney is strongly recommended. If you suffer from shoulder pain and reduced range of motion or have been diagnosed with SIRVA after receiving a vaccine listed below, you may be eligible to file a claim for compensation.  The vaccines covered under the NVICP include:

  • Hemophilus influenzae (type b polysaccharide conjugate vaccines)
  • Hepatitis A vaccines (Havrix, VAQTA, and Twinrix)
  • Hepatitis B antigen-containing vaccines (Engerix-B, Recombivax HB, Twinrix)
  • Human papillomavirus (HPV) vaccines (Gardasil and Cervarix)
  • Measles virus-containing vaccines (MMR, MR, M)
  • Measles, mumps and rubella virus-containing vaccines in any combination (MMR, MR, M, R)
  • Meningococcal vaccines (meningococcal polysaccharide vaccine (MPSV4) and meningococcal conjugate vaccine (MCV4), Menactra)
  • Pertussis antigen-containing vaccines (DTaP, Tdap, DTP, P, DTP-Hib)
  • Pneumococcal conjugate vaccines (PCV 13, 15 and 20)
  • Polio inactivated virus (IPV)
  • Polio live virus vaccines (OPV)
  • Rotavirus vaccine (Rota Teq)
  • Rubella virus-containing vaccines (MMR, MR, R)
  • Tetanus toxoid-containing vaccines (DTaP, Tdap, DTP-Hib, DT, Td, TT)
  • Trivalent influenza vaccines (Flu vaccines including FluMist, a live attenuated influenza virus vaccine; and injectable influenza vaccines FluShield, Fluvirin, Fluzone, and Afluria)
  • Varicella vaccine (Varivax chickenpox virus vaccine and ProQuad)

How an Attorney Can Help

It is no simple task to file a claim under NVICP and it is different from initiating a lawsuit in other courts.  There is a complex process that must be adhered to in order to have the best chance of obtaining compensation for your vaccine injury.  While there is $3 billion in trust for vaccine-related injuries such as SIRVA, there is no guarantee that you will win your case.  It is crucial that you hire attorneys who are familiar with the vaccine injury compensation process.  These attorneys know how to maneuver the complex processes of this program. 

At Siri & Glimstad, we have a legal team dedicated solely to vaccine injuries.  They work every day to obtain compensation for those who have suffered adverse events after vaccination, including SIRVA. 

What Should You Do if You Feel You Have a SIRVA Claim?

Do not delay reaching out to an experienced vaccine injury attorney! Remember, there are relevant statutes of limitations that impose strict deadlines on filing claims after an injury. If the window closes, you will never get the opportunity to seek the compensation you deserve. It doesn’t cost anything to consult with an attorney at Siri & Glimstad.  They will speak with you and evaluate the circumstances of your situation to see if a claim can be initiated on your behalf. 

No amount of money can compensate for physical and/or emotional suffering but you may be able to get compensation for the following:

  • Pain and suffering
  • Out of pocket medical expenses
  • Lost Wages
  • Future Care

Contact Siri & Glimstad today to have your case reviewed at no cost to you. And if you know someone else that has suffered a shoulder injury after having one of the vaccines listed above, share this link with them. Our experienced legal team is ready and waiting to help you!

 or call Class Action Jen (Jennifer Malainy) at 772-SUE-THEM