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Tetanus Shot Side Effects
and Injuries

And other adverse reactions caused by the vaccine.

Tetanus shots can cause pain and injuries such as frozen shoulder, bursitis, and tendonitis. Tetanus shot injuries are common in Vaccine Injury Court.

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Tetanus shot pain and vaccine injuries

Tetanus shot pain and adverse reactions are common following vaccine administration. In severe cases, various side effects include shoulder injuries, Brachial Neuritis, Parsonage-Turner Syndrome, Anaphylaxis, and other injuries. If you suffered an adverse reaction or injury after receiving the tetanus vaccine, you may be entitled to compensation from a federal trust fund called the National Vaccine Injury Compensation Program. It is important to call your doctor's office immediately if you are suffering severe symptoms following a vaccine administration.


What is the tetanus shot?

The tetanus vaccine is administered to prevent a tetanus infection which is a bacterial infection. Sometimes referred to as Lockjaw, it is a serious bacterial infection that affects your nervous system, leading to painful muscle contractions, particularly of your jaw and neck muscles. These injuries initiate different side effects than a flu shot injury or TDaP vaccine injury. Tetanus can interfere with your ability to breathe and ultimately threaten your life. The bacteria can be found in soil, dust, and animal feces making young children a susceptible target. Tetanus shots are a part of the childhood vaccine schedule, which calls for four injections between two (2) months and four-to-six (4 to 6) years of age with a tetanus booster provided at 11 or 12 years of age. Adults generally have the option of one (1) booster every 10 years thereafter.


What is in the tetanus shot?

The TENIVAC Tetanus vaccine, made by Sanofi Pasteur, Ltd., is made up of the following ingredients (not in order of quantity):

  • Aluminum phosphate
  • Formaldehyde
  • Sodium chloride
  • Water for injection

The Tetanus and Diphtheria Toxoids vaccine, made by Mass Biologics, is made up of the following ingredients (not in order of quantity):

  • Aluminum adjuvant
  • Formaldehyde
  • Thimerosal

What are common side effects of the tetanus shot?

Mild side effects associated with the tetanus vaccination are very common and typically include the following: mild fever swelling and/or redness at the injection site, tenderness or soreness, and/or allergic reactions. Children can also exhibit symptoms such as fussiness, non-stop crying, a high fever, and seizures. Reaction to the tetanus vaccine is common and differs somewhat between children and adults. Mild side effects are very common, with approximately one in four (1 in 4) children experiencing them. Some of these are common in adults too. More serious side effects stemming from the tetanus vaccine include anaphylaxis (severe allergic reaction), severe pain or swelling at the site of injection, difficulty breathing, and even Guillain-Barre Syndrome. The tetanus immunization can also cause Brachial Neuritis which is commonly referred to as Parsonage-Turner Syndrome ("PTS"). This condition causes paralysis throughout the shoulder muscles accompanied by extreme pain or muscle spasms. Although pain and treatment can vary between individuals, Parsonage-Turner Syndrome can last as long as two (2) years and lead to irreversible muscle deterioration.

Recently, My Vaccine Lawyer's founding partner Max Muller was interviewed by NBC Philadelphia about Tetanus shot injuries from vaccines along with the National Vaccine Injury Compensation Program, a federal compensation program for vaccine injuries in the United States.

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How can a tetanus shot injury happen?

A Tetanus shot can cause a SIRVA injury, also known as a Shoulder Injury Related to Vaccine Administration. Proper technique is critical for intramuscular vaccines such as the tetanus shot. Specifically, the Center for Disease Control's medical advice for proper administration suggests that the needle should be inserted at a 90-degree angle to the skin, as close to the deltoid muscle as possible to help avoid adverse events. 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 cause other severe problems in the subcutaneous soft tissue. Additionally, many inactivated vaccines (including the tetanus vaccine) 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, causing pain, redness, painful muscle spasms, and swelling.

Tetanus shots can also cause Anaphylaxis. Although adverse reactions to the tetanus vaccine are mild and normally limited to the injection site, immunoglobulin-mediated reactions do occur when the immune system releases a flood of chemicals in response to the tetanus toxoid. These chemicals cause an onslaught of severe and life-threatening symptoms throughout the body, including a drop in blood pressure and constricted airways. We have also represented clients who have suffered from Brachial Neuritis and or Parsonage-Turner Syndrome. Inflammation of the nerves of the brachial plexus results from an immune-mediated inflammatory response to some infection or environmental trigger that damages those nerves. These “triggers'' can include immunizations such as the tetanus vaccine.


How long do side effects of the tetanus shot last?

For SIRVA related injuries, each injury varies greatly in severity, and complete resolution of symptoms can occur anywhere six (6) months or multiple years. Some clients even report that their SIRVA symptoms never completely disappear. For Anaphylaxis, most cases are mild and last for approximately five (5) to thirty (30) minutes. However, more severe anaphylactic reactions may last for several days. In the case of Brachial Neuritis or Parsonage-Turner Syndrome, nerve injuries normally take between one (1) and three (3) years to resolve completely.


How long does pain from a tetanus shot last?

The pain from a tetanus shot can last anywhere from a few minutes to a few hours. For most people, the pain is mild and manageable. However, for some people, the pain can be quite severe. Talk to your doctor if you experience severe pain after getting a tetanus shot.


Why does tetanus shot hurt?

A tetanus shot may hurt for several reasons. Firstly, the injection itself can be uncomfortable. Secondly, the vaccine stimulates an inflammatory response, leading to pain and swelling. However, it is important to bear in mind that the discomfort is usually temporary and is outweighed by the vaccine's benefits. The tetanus vaccine is highly effective at preventing the disease, which can cause serious health problems. Therefore, despite the fact that a tetanus shot may hurt, it is still important to get vaccinated.
If the pain from a tetanus shot is persistent, contact your doctor as soon as possible.


Tips after tetanus shot pain relief

After a tetanus shot, pain and swelling can be relieved with a cold compress. You can also take ibuprofen or another nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drug (NSAID) for pain relief. You may need to see your doctor if the pain and swelling are severe.


Tetanus shot injury compensation

If you or a loved one has suffered an adverse reaction, illness, or severe injury after receiving the tetanus vaccine, you may qualify for compensation from a federal program called the National Vaccine Injury Compensation Program. Call the national vaccine injury attorneys at My Vaccine Lawyer for more information. Not only is the phone call free, but our representation comes at no cost to you.

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