Shoulder injuries related to vaccine administration (SIRVA) account for nearly half of all claims filed under the National Vaccine Injury Compensation Program (VICP). This is an alarming statistic, as all forms of SIRVA can be avoided with proper vaccination techniques and due consideration for the risks involved with the improper administration of injected vaccines.
As a vaccine recipient, it is not your job to make sure that your vaccine is administered appropriately. That responsibility belongs to the health care professional administering your vaccine. However, due to the risks of SIRVA, it is important to be aware of the warning signs of vaccination mistakes, and to seek medical attention promptly if you are concerned that your (or a loved one’s) vaccine may have been administered improperly.
“Know the Site. Get it Right!”
To help health care professionals and vaccine recipients better understand proper vaccine administration procedures, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has published an infographic entitled, “You Call the Shots.” The infographic highlights critical steps for avoiding SIRVA:
1. Use the Correct Syringe and Needle
Appropriate syringe and needle sizes vary depending upon a vaccine recipient’s sex and weight. Different needles are also required for subcutaneous and intramuscular (IM) injections. Using a needle that is too short or too long increases the chance of a vaccination error and the vaccine recipient’s risk of SIRVA.
2. Identify the Injection Site
Intramuscular injections should be administered in the deltoid muscle, which is located in the upper arm. Vaccine administrators should aim for the midpoint of the deltoid, which “is about 2 inches (or 2 to 3 fingers’ breadth) below the acromion process (bony prominence) and above the armpit in the middle of the upper arm.”
3. Administer the Vaccine Correctly
For IM injections, the needle should be inserted at 90 degrees to the surface of the skin, and it should penetrate the muscle tissue below the fatty tissue under the skin. The middle of the deltoid is the thickest part of the muscle, and inserting the needle here should ensure that the vaccine is administered to the correct depth.
4. Always Follow Safe Injection Practices
In addition to choosing the correct needle and administering the vaccine correctly, health care providers should also:
- Follow aseptic technique (avoid contamination)
- Wash their hands between each vaccination
- Use a new needle and syringe for each injection
- Discard single-dose vials after use
5. Know the IM Injection Best Practices
One of the most-common causes of SIRVA is injection of the vaccine too high on the upper arm, often due to the vaccine recipient being asked to pull down his or her collar rather than exposing the entire upper arm. Administering multiple IM injections too close together can lead to injuries as well; and, to mitigate this risk, the CDC recommends that injections be administered at least one inch apart if possible.
Have You or a Loved One Been Diagnosed with SIRVA?
If you or a loved one has been diagnosed with SIRVA following a vaccine injection, you may be entitled to financial compensation under the National Vaccine Injury Compensation Program. To speak with national vaccine injury lawyer Leah V. Durant in confidence, please call 202-800-1711 or request a free consultation online today.
Leah Durant Bio
Experienced litigation attorney Leah Durant focuses on representing clients in complex vaccine litigation matters. Leah Durant is the owner and principal attorney of the Law Offices of Leah V. Durant, PLLC, a litigation firm based in Washington, DC. Leah Durant and her staff represent clients and their families who suffer from vaccine-related injuries, adverse vaccine reactions and vaccine-related deaths. The Law Offices of Leah V. Durant, PLLC is dedicated to assisting individuals in recovering the highest level of compensation as quickly and efficiently as possible. To learn more, contact vaccine attorney Leah Durant today.