Shoulder Injury Related to Vaccine Administration

There are numerous vaccine-related injuries reported in VAERS (Vaccine Adverse Event Reporting System) that federal government agencies maintain to track such injuries.

VAERS is co-sponsored by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), agencies of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, according to its website.

Vaccine damage reports can be made in three formats:

  1. Online at Instructions for Completing the VAERS On-Line Form
  2. By faxing a request to (877) 721-0366
  3. By mail: Mail a completed VAERS Form to VAERS, P.O. Box 1100, Rockville, MD 20849-1100. A pre-paid postage stamp is included on the back of the form.

During the September 2-3, 2010, Advisory Commission on Childhood Vaccines meeting held in Rockville, Maryland, we heard of a “new” type of vaccine injury that is surfacing that these agencies want to track. It’s called Shoulder Injury Related to Vaccine Administration, or SIRVA, for which the CDC and FDA are working on a reporting protocol and information bulletin. The damage centers on the shoulder and/or upper arm where a vaccine was administered. Many people complain of experiencing tremendous pain after receiving a vaccination. Sometimes there is an inability to use the affected arm.

Some of the symptoms and/or diagnoses can be: arm pain, shoulder pain, shoulder dysfunction, frozen shoulder, adhesive capsulitis, shoulder bursitis, and brachial neuritis.

Interestingly, and according to those who are working on the new project, all those complaining about SIRVA had no prior shoulder problems to receiving a vaccination. Within 24 hours of the injected vaccine, 93 percent had suffered shoulder pain with 54 percent complaining of immediate pain.

According to those damaged, they believe the vaccination was given too high up on the arm and resulted in limited range of motion, pain, tingling, numbness, and weakness. Subsequent MRIs performed on 69 percent of those complaining with symptoms revealed:

  • Fluid collection in the deep deltoid muscle or overlying tendons
  • Bursitis
  • Fluid greater than typically seen in the bursa
  • Tendonitis
  • Subchondral changes with severe tendonitis in one patient [1]

The symptoms can last from months into years. Of those studied, less than one third experienced complete recovery.

What seems to be contributing to SIRVA ranges from improper angle and/or position of the inserted hypodermic syringe (needle) to over penetration of the deltoid muscle, which can occur when there is not a heavy body mass. Muscle mass may be an issue. Too long a needle length will cause damage. Furthermore, previous rotator cuff damage may be aggravated due to inflammation of surrounding tissue.

One conclusion emanating from the research indicates

Shoulder pain and dysfunction can occur as a result of improper vaccination technique or inappropriate needle length. [2]

A preliminary technique for administrating vaccinations that is coming out of the research is that those who administer vaccines need to receive an updated proper procedure protocol that includes having both the vaccinator and the person being vaccinated seated, so that both their arms are at parallel levels and not have one above with the other below so that the jab goes into the upper deltoid or near the shoulder.

Another recommendation is that since fainting is common during vaccination, the person being vaccinated should be seated or, I think, lying down.

Needle length should be determined by body mass index (BMI) so that too large a needle that will over penetrate is not used.

The information above is based upon the work of Dr. Tom Ryan, HRSA, DVIC, Dr. Robert Lightfoot, Division of Rheumatology, University of Kentucky, and Dr. Rosemary Johann-Liang, Chief Medical Officer, HRSA, DVIC, and Dr. Sarah Antanasoff. Personally, I can’t thank them enough for this innovative approach to eliminating vaccine adverse effects.

During the meeting we heard that HPV (Human Papilloma Virus) claims were second to the 2009 H1N1 flu claims being filed. It would seem that adverse reaction events might be overwhelming the vaccine program, especially now with this ‘new’ one making its presence known.

As a consumer health researcher and writer/reporter, I think word ought to get out as quickly as possible to physicians, nurses, pharmacies, senior citizen centers, all school health clinics, and any persons who administer vaccines about the recommendations for precluding SIRVA so as to protect the public from additional vaccine damage.


[1] The National Vaccine Injury Compensation Program, Division of Vaccine Injury Compensation Update Advisory Commission on Childhood Vaccine Meeting Sept. 2, 2010, PowerPoint Presentation

[2] Ibid

About the author

Catherine J. Frompovich

Catherine J Frompovich is a retired natural nutritionist who earned advanced degrees in Nutrition and Holistic Health Sciences, Certification in Orthomolecular Theory and Practice plus Paralegal Studies. Her work has been published in national and airline magazines since the early 1980s. Catherine authored numerous books on health issues along with co-authoring papers and monographs with physicians, nurses, and holistic healthcare professionals. She has been a consumer healthcare researcher 35 years and counting. Catherine is an editor and writing consultant who helps authors get into publication. For numerous semesters she taught several writing courses for a suburban Philadelphia school district’s Adult Evening School. Her passion is assisting and guiding authors into print. Catherine’s latest book, A Cancer Answer, Holistic BREAST Cancer Management, A Guide to Effective & Non-Toxic Treatments, will be available on and as a Kindle eBook sometime in July 2012. Two of Catherine’s more recent books on are Our Chemical Lives And The Hijacking Of Our DNA, A Probe Into What’s Probably Making Us Sick (2009) and Lord, How Can I Make It Through Grieving My Loss, An Inspirational Guide Through the Grieving Process (2008).