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When Should I Get Information About a Shoulder Injury from A Flu Shot (SIRVA)?

Richard H. Moeller Feb. 13, 2023

Pain from A Flu Shot or Other Vaccine

Everyone expects some pain after a flu shot.  It may be sore for a few hours or maybe a day or two.  But when the pain is intense right away or when it is still causing shoulder pain for days and weeks after receiving the shot, it may be the sign of something more.  Many people who contact us say that they didn't know it was even possible that an injection could cause an injury to their shoulder, and they don't know when they should take the step of calling a doctor because the pain hasn't gone away.

When I am asked—and I am not a doctor or medically trained—I tell them that it is better to seek attention sooner rather than later.  As with any medical condition, you hope the doctor will tell you that your pain or illness is not serious and will get better.  The same is true with shoulder pain following a flu shot or other vaccination.  Your doctor will know what it is—Shoulder Injury Resulting from Vaccine Administration, or SIRVA.  Although SIRVA is uncommon, it is a known side effect of a flu injection or other vaccination.  It is recognized as a Table Injury by the National Vaccine Injury Compensation Program (VICP) of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.  More and more, the medical community and other respected sources are posting material online to let people know that, although rare, SIRVA is real.

How Can I Learn About Sirva?

Perhaps one of the more comprehensive articles is at WebMD.comWhat Is SIRVA?  Posted in September 2021, the article answers basic questions of “What is SIRVA?” “What are its symptoms?” “How does it happen?” and “How is treated?”  The information has been reviewed by a medical doctor who is board-certified in internal medicine and lifestyle medicine. 

Another simple-to-read article about when to start looking into whether the vaccination you received may be the reason for your pain is at health.com –  What Is SIRVA? What to Know About Shoulder Injury From Flu Shot .  The article includes information from a Yale Medicine orthopedic surgeon who specializes in shoulder problems.

An article at verywellhealth.comPreventing Shoulder Pain After Vaccine Injection (SIRVA) discusses what you can do if you believe you may have SIRVA.  It is written by a board certified orthopedic surgeon who specializes in sports medicine and arthroscopic surgery.

SIRVA is often considered underreported and underdiagnosed.  The purpose of these articles is not to discourage flu shots or other vaccinations.  In fact, they all promote the use of vaccines, including the seasonal flu shot, and explain that SIRVA is uncommon.  Their importance is that they let people know that the shoulder pain they are experiencing may be from an unlikely source that is otherwise safe and effective—the flu shot.

Contact Us for Any Questions You May Have

You can contact us about a possible Vaccine Injury by visiting our Contact page. And you can learn more about the VICP and our firm's representation of persons with possible Vaccine Injury claims by visiting the Vaccine Injuries page or by reading other postings found under our Blog tab.