So far this season, the flu has killed over 50 children. This is one of the worst flu seasons in years, and we are still in the midst of it. This year’s flu strain is a challenge to this year’s vaccine, which is reported to have an only 10% effective rate against the H3N2 strain—although the current vaccine offers the most protection against all circulating strains.
Dr. Daniel Jernigan of the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) told the New York Times that this flu season is on track to match the deadly 2014-2015 flu season. During that period, an estimated 34 million Americans got the flu, 710,000 people were hospitalized, and about 56,000 died. The CDC recommends those who have not yet been vaccinated to get a flu shot, even at this late date.
Generally, vaccines are safe and save lives, but in unfortunate instances, vaccine injuries do occur.
SIRVA vaccine injury
A common vaccine injury is Shoulder Injury Related to Vaccine Administration (SIRVA), caused by an injury to the musculoskeletal system of the shoulder (tendons, ligaments, bursae, etc.). SIRVA is a rare condition that develops when a vaccine, like a flu shot, is given in the wrong spot. Typically, when you get a flu shot or tetanus shot, you have shoulder or arm soreness for a day or two. That’s normal. However, in some cases the medical professional will administer the shot in the wrong place. Instead of into the deltoid muscle tissue, they inject the vaccine into the shoulder joint, and the pain will last much longer.
SIRVA symptoms include shoulder pain that lasts for more than a few days (chronic shoulder pain), inflammation, and trouble lifting or moving the shoulder. SIRVA can cause severe pain and even permanent damage. Many patients suffering from SIRVA end up needing cortisone shots, physical therapy, and even surgery to repair the damage. The CDC provides explicit information for medical professionals on how to administer a shot correctly.
The National Vaccine Injury Compensation Program
SIRVA is not a reaction to the vaccine itself, but an injury caused by the administration of the vaccine. However, this injury is covered under a government fund called the National Vaccine Injury Compensation Program. This fund was set up by the federal Health Resources & Services Administration in the rare case a vaccine causes a problem or injury to an individual. If a person receives a covered vaccine and believes they suffered injury as a result, they may file a petition. Parents, guardians and legal representatives can file on behalf of children, disabled adults, or deceased individuals.
Note that even if a vaccine that caused you injury is not listed on the covered vaccine table, it’s worth talking to your medical malpractice attorney about your options. Partner Steve Crandall is admitted to practice in the U.S. Court of Federal Claims, and can represent your best interests before the court.
The skilled Ohio and Kentucky medical malpractice lawyers of Crandall & Pera Law have successfully handled numerous medical malpractice cases. Please call our Ohio office at 877-686-8879, or in Kentucky at 877-651-7764. You can also fill out our contact form to schedule a no-obligation consultation.