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Shoulder Tendonitis After a Flu Shot

Do you have a vaccine shoulder injury?

Shoulder tendonitis after a flu shot? You're not alone - it is one of the most common vaccine shoulder injuries eligible for compensation under the VICP.


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Shoulder Tendonitis from a Vaccine

Improper vaccine administration either in the pharmacy or at a doctor’s office can cause adverse reactions such as shoulder injuries. Flu shots and other vaccines can cause shoulder tendonitis, a painful condition in the upper arm caused by inflammation of the tendons connecting the shoulder muscles to the bone. If you suffered tendonitis caused by a flu shot or other vaccine, you can seek compensation from the National Vaccine Injury Compensation Program. This federal program provides compensation for certain vaccine injuries.


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Hear Cheryl's Vaccine Injury Story

Cheryl suffered SIRVA (shoulder injury related to vaccine administration) following a flu shot. Her vaccine injury claim was filed in the VICP by vaccine lawyer Max Muller where she obtained a large cash settlement for her pain and suffering, lost wages and out of pocket medical expenses.

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Can the flu shot cause tendonitis?

A proper vaccine injection technique is critical for intramuscular vaccines such as the flu shot. Specifically, the Center for Disease Control advises that the needle should be inserted at a 90-degree angle to the skin, as close to the deltoid muscle as possible. While this may seem fool-proof, mistakes are common and can lead to tendonitis and other musculoskeletal injuries in the shoulder and arm. Improper vaccine administration can allow for the needle to cause damage to the nerves, muscles and other subcutaneous soft tissue. Moreover, many inactivated vaccines (including the influenza vaccination) contain an adjuvant. Adjuvants are vaccine components that enhance the immune response to an antigen.

These components can cause a local reaction to an improperly placed needle at the injection site, causing pain, redness and swelling. Tendonitis, specifically, is an inflammatory reaction at the rotator cuff or biceps tendon. Tendons are thick cords of tissue that attach muscle to bone. Tendonitis normally occurs as the result of a tendon being pinched by inflamed surrounding structures. In severe instances, nerve damage or impingement syndrome can also be diagnosed. There are a number of other flu shot side effects.


Symptoms of shoulder tendonitis from the flu shot

The most common symptoms associated with vaccine-induced tendonitis include: (1) an inability to hold your arm in certain positions; (2) pain, stiffness or tenderness at the shoulder; and (3) loss of strength or motion in the affected arm. Symptoms can range from mild to severe, depending on the extent of the inflammation. Other complications include interrupted sleep due to pain, limited mobility, severe pain as well as difficulty getting dressed and/or reaching for items overhead.

Recently, My Vaccine Lawyer's founding partner Paul Brazil was interviewed by Jodie Fleischer of NBC4 Washington about SIRVA injuries such shoulder tendonitis, deltoid bursitis, subacromial bursitis and adhesive capsulitis, along with the National Vaccine Injury Compensation Program, a federal compensation program for vaccine-related injuries and allergic reactions in the United States. Paul and Jodie also discuss the frequency of vaccine injuries and the lack of public knowledge about the Vaccine Injury Table. If you have flu shot arm pain it may well be worth contacting our specialized injury victim lawyers.


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Shoulder tendonitis from a vaccine

Various vaccines can be injected into a person’s deltoid. Pain in arm after flu shots can happen if the injection is performed too high on the shoulder, the vaccine can penetrate the sensitive tendons within. Tendons are thick cords of tissue that attach muscle to bone. If a vaccine penetrates the tendons or other sensitive areas like the bursa sac, it can cause an inflammatory response. The inflammation can present in the bursa (Bursitis), tendons (Tendonitis) or around the Rotator Cuff. Inflammation then causes pain. If any of the below arise after receiving your vaccine, it is likely the vaccine caused tendonitis:

  • Pain when moving the arm out to the side or behind;
  • Tenderness of the front and upper parts of the shoulder;
  • Swelling and stiffness

Diagnosing shoulder tendonitis from a vaccine

If the injured person's shoulder pain does not resolve in a short period of time, it is likely a serious injury. A person suffering from lingering shoulder pain following a vaccination should see their primary care physician as soon as possible. The primary doctor will likely refer the injured person to an orthopedic doctor who specializes in shoulder injuries. In order to diagnose the injury, the orthopedic doctor will often order an MRI of the shoulder to be done. MRI's are the most effective testing method when it comes to diagnosing shoulder injuries. The MRI may show inflammation, fluid collection, or swelling. After the orthopedic reviews the MRI, they can prescribe a specific course of therapy for the shoulder injury.


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Treatment for shoulder tendonitis from a vaccine

If your whole arm hurts after flu shot then it is wise to seek medical attention. In mild cases, a medical professional will perform a physical examination and often prescribe a course of nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs. If the injured person is still suffering from a limited range of motion, a course of physical therapy will be recommended. Physical therapy will usually be prescribed two to three (2-3) times per week for a course of around three (3) months. If physical therapy is not beneficial, an orthopedic surgeon may recommend corticosteroid injections. These steroid injections, also known as Cortisone injection, have the ability to relieve inflammation in some instances. In severe cases, other treatment options include surgery. The damage to the shoulder capsule or subacromial bursa could be substantial enough to require removal of the bursa or repair of ruptured tendons. Arm pain after flu shots are no laughing matter. Make sure to seek medical attention if you are suffering!


How to file a vaccine shoulder injury lawsuit

If you believe you have suffered from a serious adverse reaction or injury resulting from an influenza vaccine, contact our office today. If you have not already, you should report your injury to your doctor and receive proper treatment as soon as possible. To be eligible to file a claim, the effects of the injury must have: (1) lasted for more than 6 months after the vaccine was given; (2) resulted in a hospital stay or surgery; or (3) resulted in death.

Once the vaccine administration record and relevant medical records are received by our office, an experienced vaccine attorney will perform a comprehensive analysis of the case. Vaccine injury claims begin with a petition filed against the Department of Health and Human Services. These claims are handled in the Court of Federal Claims and are ultimately decided by the Special Master assigned to preside over the case. These are no fault claims and are not handled like a traditional civil lawsuit against vaccine manufacturers, a pharmacy or your doctor's office.


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Compensation for a vaccine shoulder injury

Compensation for vaccine-related shoulder dysfunction includes: (1) reimbursement of medical expenses; (2) applicable lost wages; and (3) pain and suffering.

  • Reimbursement of Medical Expenses: Any medical costs incurred for treatment of the vaccine injury are reimbursable by the VICP. Reimbursable expenses are limited to what the injured party has paid or will pay related to the injury, and will not be applied to any portion of treatment paid for by a health insurance provider. The exception to this rule applies in cases where state Medicaid has paid for some or all treatment. Medicaid is the only entity that is able to subrogate against a compensation award for a flu vaccine injury. In light of this rule, it is crucial that the injured party advise their attorney if they have been a Medicaid recipient during or leading up to treatment. In cases where catastrophic injuries have occurred and in-home nursing or home modifications are necessary, the VICP will estimate expenses that an injured party will incur in the future. Petitioners can recover damages for those medical expenses in addition to expenses they have already paid.
  • Lost Wages: If a vaccine injury or related treatment causes an injured party to miss work and lose income, the VICP will reimburse the party for those wages. Even in cases involving workers’ compensation, a petitioner can seek the difference between the benefits received through workers’ compensation and the actual wages lost. Standard pre-reimbursement tax deductions apply.
  • Pain and Suffering: Although each injured party experiences some degree of pain and suffering, the extent is largely determined by the circumstances of the claim. The key factors for determining a monetary value for pain and suffering can be narrowed down to symptoms, treatment and residual effects on an injured party’s life. The type and duration of treatment coupled with the severity and duration of symptoms speak to the injured party’s experience. Those factors, in addition to any residual or permanent effects on the party’s life are used to quantify the claim and determine an award.

If you or someone you know has suffered from tendonitis following a vaccination, you may be entitled to compensation from the National Vaccine Injury Compensation Program. Contact our vaccine injury lawyers for a free consultation at (800) 229-7704.

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I reached out to My Vaccine Lawyer after confirming I suffered from SIRVA. They were so helpful, understanding and thorough throughout the process. They were quick to respond, always answered the phone and I feel they fought to get me what I was entitled to. If you suffered from an injury then please call My Vaccine Lawyer. They will take care of you!

- Melissa Heffley, SIRVA Client



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