Vaccine-Related Rotator Cuff Tears. Am I suffering from a SIRVA injury?
We've all experienced at least some pain at a vaccine injection site in our shoulder and even some slight swelling. These are very common and often go away within a very short amount of time (though sometimes lasting a few days).
However, occasionally, the pain does not go away. If your pain lasts weeks or more, you may have what is known as a shoulder injury related to vaccine administration or SIRVA. SIRVAs are uncommon, but the actual rate is unknown because some people put up with the pain and never report it or see a doctor.
SIRVAs can be a number of different conditions that can progress over time. These injuries often start with bursitis, which is an inflammation of the fluid sac inside your shoulder joint.
It is also possible to experience a rotator cuff tear. The rotator cuff is a group of muscles and tendons that connect your arm (specifically your humerus bone) to your shoulder blade and your chest. It helps to lift and rotate your arm. When any of these tendons are torn, it can be incredibly painful.
However, rotator cuff tears are the most common shoulder injury and are usually not caused by vaccine administration. One of the most common reasons for a rotator cuff injury is overuse. It can happen if you frequently lift your arm over your head or rotate your arm. In short, it can happen to many of us over time.
So, how do you know if your rotator cuff tear is related to your vaccine? The vaccine injury compensation program (or VICP) has an injury table which they use to determine whether injuries common to vaccines are more likely than not related to the vaccine administration.
The injuries on this table are called, "table injuries." Table injuries are listed because they have been associated with certain vaccines in the past and have fairly predictable times to the first symptoms appearing. So, if you had pain within the first 48 hours after the administration of a vaccine covered by the VICP and that pain lasts for at least six months or requires surgery, then the VICP will not ask you to prove that the vaccine caused that injury.
If your shoulder pain begins within 48 hours of your vaccine administration and later turns out to be a rotator cuff tear, that very likely could have been caused by the vaccine administration. If you have a history of shoulder injuries, however, the vaccine administration may have made your former injuries worse. However, that would require medical expert evidence to prove the connection.
If you believe that you might have a SIRVA, even a rotator cuff tear, and would like to see if you are entitled to compensation, it is important that you contact someone experienced with vaccine injuries and the VICP.