Shoulder Injury Related to Vaccine Administration (SIRVA) is one of the more common injuries from vaccines. This injury is not caused by the contents of the vaccine but, rather, the method in which the vaccine was administered. If an injection is not administered in the correct location on the shoulder, it can cause potential short term or long term shoulder debilitation including painful tendons or nerve pain. The following are the most common questions associated with SIRVA injuries:
How Long Does SIRVA Usually Last?
It depends on the severity of the case. Some cases are temporary in nature and will result in severe pain, but for a limited duration of time. However, some cases may involve permanent damage in the shoulder and may not go away. These permanent cases will involve some loss of range and motion in the shoulder that is irreversible, even with therapy. Generally, the permanent cases have lasting damages that are the compensable.
How Does SIRVA Occur?
People are generally surprised to learn that SIRVA has little to nothing to do with the contents of the flu vaccine that is administered. Instead, SIRVA is mostly a function of the manner in which the vaccine is administered. Flu vaccines are common and recommended, and patients do not have to walk into the doctor’s office in order to receive a flu vaccine. They can receive a vaccine at a walk-in clinic without even making an appointment. The downside to this convenience is that the technician administering the vaccine may not be fully trained in the proper technique for giving the injection. When the injection is given in the wrong part of the shoulder, primarily the upper third of the deltoid muscle, it can cause lasting injury. In other words, when the needle position is too high on the shoulder, it can cause SIRVA.
What Types of Vaccines Can Lead to Shoulder Injuries
SIRVA is most commonly associated with flu vaccines. This is the vaccines that adults will receive later in life when there is more of a chance that the injection will be given to the wrong muscle in the shoulder. In addition, other vaccines for children will likely be given in a doctor’s office where there is more of a chance that the nurse administering the injection will have the proper training. It is when you are getting the injection at a walk-in clinic that you are at the most risk, and these clinics are associated with the flu shot. However, any vaccine that is given as an injection to the shoulder can cause SIRVA.
How Can SIRVA Be Avoided?
Besides making sure that you receive the vaccination at a place where there is likely to be a trained technician, you can also inquire whether you are able to receive a flu mist as opposed to a shot. Not everyone can receive this type of vaccine, but if you are, it will eliminate the risk that something can go wrong during the vaccination.
What Is the Vaccine Injury Compensation Program?
This is a fund that was established by Congress. The public policy behind the fund was to encourage companies to produce vaccines that can be used for children since litigation risk was dissuading pharmaceuticals companies from creating vaccines. Congress wanted to create a streamlined process that would shield the vaccine makers from liability. It is funded by a tax that is placed on each vaccine. The taxes are placed in the fund, which then pays out claims that are made for compensation. At no point is the vaccine maker liable for the injury. In order to be eligible for compensation from the VICP, the Secretary of the Department of Health and Human Services must add the vaccine to the injury table, recognizing it as a compensable injury.
How Can the VICP Help with my SIRVA Claim?
The VICP exists to pay out SIRVA claims that have a valid basis. In other words, if you have suffered a SIRVA injury, the VICP will compensate you for the damage that you have suffered. Where the VICP helps is that your claim will not have to go through an entire litigation process in order for you to receive an answer about whether you will be compensated for your injury. Instead, your claim will not need to be proven in the same way that you would have to argue a regular product liability case against a drug manufacturer in court. While the VICP does not pay out every claim that is made to it, the fund will reduce the burden of filing a case. There may be a hearing necessary in front of a special master, but it will not be as protracted as a trial in front of a judge and jury.
The Law Offices of Sadaka Associates is a leader in litigating SIRVA cases. If you or a loved one has suffered shoulder pain from the administration of a vaccine, contact one of our attorneys for a free consultation of your case.
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The first step in helping yourself or a loved one after a serious vaccine related injury is to contact us for a free review of your case.