Vaccine-Related Shoulder Injuries Are Increasing

Vaccine Admininstration

Story at-a-glance -

  • Shoulder injury related to vaccine administration (SIRVA) causes serious shoulder pain and “frozen shoulder” that may leave you unable to lift your arm
  • SIRVA occurs if the vaccine mistakenly goes into the bursa, a fluid-filled sac that protects your shoulder tendons
  • If injected into the bursa, the vaccine may provoke your immune system to attack the bursa, causing SIRVA

By Dr. Mercola

Soreness at the site of vaccination is a common vaccine side effect. This includes pain in your shoulder, which is typically regarded as a transient side effect. For some people, however, the shoulder pain doesn't go away but instead progresses and leads to restrictions in range of motion.

The condition – shoulder injury related to vaccine administration, or SIRVA – is described as rare, but its incidence appears to be increasing… so much so that the government has proposed adding SIRVA to the federally operated vaccine injury compensation program's (VICP) Vaccine Injury Table.

The Table lists vaccine side effects that are known to be caused by vaccines. In order to win uncontested federal compensation for a vaccine injury, a person must prove he or she developed certain clinical symptoms and medical conditions on the Table.

And this must be done within a certain time frame of receiving a certain vaccine, and that there is no more biologically plausible explanation for the vaccine-related injury or death.

That SIRVA may soon be added to the Table speaks volumes about its incidence – and the science to back up its connection to vaccination.

Serious Shoulder Injury May Occur If a Vaccine Is Injected Improperly

Many vaccine side effects are related to the contents of an injected vaccine. SIRVA is unique in that it's primarily caused by how the contents of the vaccine are injected into the arm.

A vaccine given in your shoulder is intended to go into your muscle. If it mistakenly goes into the bursa, a fluid-filled sac that protects your shoulder tendons, trouble can result.

Specifically, the vaccine may provoke your immune system to attack the bursa, causing pain and a "frozen shoulder." The first case reports of SIRVA were published in 2007, following influenza and pneumococcal vaccine injections.

The researchers concluded:

"[T]he upper third of the deltoid muscle should not be used for vaccine injections, and the diagnosis of vaccination-related shoulder dysfunction should be considered in patients presenting with shoulder pain following a vaccination."1

By 2010, a series of 13 cases were described in another publication, with researchers noting the "proposed mechanism of injury is the unintentional injection of antigenic material into synovial tissues resulting in an immune-mediated inflammatory reaction."2

In 2012, another case report was published in which a young woman developed shoulder pain and severe restrictions in range of motion after receiving a seasonal flu shot.3 In some cases the shoulder dysfunction is so severe that patients are no longer able to lift their arms, and while some eventually recover, some do not.

Since 2011, the US Court of Federal Claims (also known as "vaccine court") has compensated 112 patients for SIRVA, half of which were settled in the past year.4

Increased awareness is likely cause for some of the increased numbers of reported cases and vaccine injury compensation program claims (at one time, health care providers were largely dismissive when patients complained of shoulder pain following a vaccine).

Another reason for an increase in SIRVA reports may be due to lack of standardized training for medical personnel administering vaccines, as well as the fact that many vaccinations are now given at pharmacies.

When you get vaccinated at a drug store during the cooler weather, you're not going to take off your long sleeve t-shirt or sweater; you're more likely to pull the neck over your shoulder so the top part of your shoulder is exposed.

This could be playing a role in the injections being given too high, and thus leading to SIRVA, although cases have also occurred at doctors' offices.5

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Last Season's Flu Vaccine Was a Flop

The media is reporting the 2014 to 2015 flu season as one of the worst in years… and the influenza vaccine, widely pushed by public health organizations and pharmaceutical companies as the best way to stay well during the flu season, was a major failure.

Data from the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) revealed influenza vaccines, which contain two influenza A strains and one or two influenza B strains , were only 19 percent effective last year.

This means many people who received flu shots last year were still vulnerable to the most widely circulating influenza strain.  

In fact, in January 2015 the CDC actually issued a warning saying that the 2014/2015 flu vaccine was a poor match to the influenza A strain causing most cases of influenza that season because the H3N2 influenza A strain had mutated.

Despite that, health officials still urged people to get a flu shot, claiming the vaccine can make symptoms less severe.

In June 2015, research was published in Cell Reports showing that, indeed, the strain of influenza virus that had widely circulated during the 2014 to 2015 flu season had mutated in ways  not accounted for when the vaccine was developed.6 As reported by Science Daily:7

"When the flu vaccine is designed each year, it is meant to protect against specific viral strains that are expected to circulate.

The vaccine elicits antibodies that respond to those specific strains when a person gets infected with the virus. If the antibodies match the strain, then a person should be protected from the flu virus in a given year.

However, specific antibodies that are elicited by vaccination can be ineffective when the virus acquires mutations at sites where the antibodies are supposed to bind, which are called antigenic sites.

In a phenomenon known as antigenic drift, mutations accumulate in these sites, thus creating new viruses for which previously effective antibodies can no longer fight against.

This leads to vaccines that are less able to protect against the virus. According to some estimates, only about one in four people who received last year's seasonal flu vaccine were protected against the virus."

Despite Last Season's Epic Failure, Health Officials Promising Better Vaccine This Year

The Cell Reports study identified 10 viral mutations that circulated in 2014 to 2015, which were different from the viral strain used in the vaccine. Since the mutated influenza A virus responsible for causing most cases of influenza were not in last year's flu shot, the vaccine was largely ineffective – a scenario that's happened many other years as well.

The "gold standard" of independent scientific evaluation and analysis, the Cochrane Database Review, has issued no less than five reports between 2006 and 2010, all of which decimate the myth that annual influenza vaccinations are "the most effective flu prevention method" available.

In average conditions, when the vaccine at least partially matches the circulating influenza strains, 100 people need to be vaccinated in order to avoid just ONE set of influenza symptoms, according to Cochrane's findings.

Yet as another flu season approaches, all these facts are wholly ignored by public health officials and conventional medicine, as well as the mainstream  media alike, and you'll certainly never see them mentioned in flu vaccine promotion campaigns.

In the US, it's getting to be that time of year again when flu shots are heavily encouraged and promoted. Despite last year's epic failure, health officials are already saying they believe this year's flu shot will provide better defense than last year's version8 – even though they can't possibly know if the strains will be a match before the season even starts.

In last year's case, the influenza virus mutated after the vaccine had already been created… and what's to stop it from doing the same again this year?

Children Who Get Flu Vaccine Three Times More Likely to Be Hospitalized

One of the arguments health care providers use to encourage the flu vaccine, even when the strains don't match up, is because it supposedly lessens symptoms and makes the flu less severe if you do get it. Yet, according to Barbara Loe Fisher of the National Vaccine Information Center (NVIC), some influenza experts have warned that flu shots do not make symptoms less severe if the vaccine fails to prevent influenza infection.

Further, research presented at the 105th International Conference of the American Thoracic Society in San Diego revealed that children who get the influenza vaccine are more at risk of hospitalization than children who do not. In fact, children who had received flu shots had three times the risk of hospitalization as children who had not. Among children with asthma, the risk was even higher.9

Separate research has also shown that the inactivated influenza vaccine has limited efficacy in young children, while the live nasal vaccine leads to increased wheezing in children under 2 and increased hospitalization rates in infants aged 6 to 11 months.10

Seasonal Flu Vaccine Increased Risk of H1N1 'Swine Flu'

Data collected from Canada and Hong Kong during 2009 to 2010 showed that people who received seasonal influenza vaccine in 2008 had twice the risk of getting the H1N1 "swine flu" compared to those who hadn't received a flu shot.11,12,13 ABC News reported at that time how getting annual seasonal flu shots may actually set you up for less "broad" protection than if you get, and recover from, a natural infection:14

"There is renewed controversy surrounding influenza vaccines, with some studies showing people immunized against the seasonal flu might have been at greater risk during the swine flu outbreak...

'What was a bit surprising when we looked at some of the data from Canada and Hong Kong in the last year is that people who have been vaccinated in 2008 with the seasonal or ordinary vaccine seemed to have twice the risk of getting swine flu compared to the people who hadn't received that vaccine,' [Professor Collignon from the Australian National University (ANU)] said.

ANU microbiologists say it is the opposite of what vaccines should do. Professor Collignon says the findings of the study also highlight the benefits for healthy people who are exposed to some illnesses. 'Some interesting data has become available which suggests that if you get immunized with the seasonal vaccine, you get less broad protection than if you get a natural infection,' he said.

'It is particularly relevant for children because it is a condition they call original antigenic sin, which basically means if you get infected with a natural virus, that gives you not only protection against that virus but similar viruses or even in fact quite different flu viruses in the next year. We may be perversely setting ourselves up that if something really new and nasty comes along, that people who have been vaccinated may in fact be more susceptible compared to getting this natural infection.'" [Emphasis mine]

For the past several years, physicians in America have been insisting that every child age 6 months to 18 years must get an annual flu shot. Making matters worse, health officials have since ramped up those recommendations and told doctors to give EVERY person over the age of 6 months an annual a flu shot, whether healthy or not, whether pregnant or not, and whether or not the child or adult falls into a high risk category for influenza complications.

With all of those flu shots, will you be protected or will you become more susceptible to influenza-related complications and death? Will your risk for influenza-related  hospitalization be decreased or increased… and will the flu shot even protect you from the current year's circulating strains? Public health officials really don't know, and that's a problem. Public health officials have leapt ahead with making a one-size-fits-all national policy recommendation of "flu shots for all" from cradle to the grave without adequate studies demonstrating the safety, effectiveness and necessity for that kind of sweeping policy.

So, by getting an annual flu shot, in a way you are effectively volunteering to participate in a national scientific experiment.  In other words, YOU (or your child) are the safety study!

Important Considerations That Parents Should Be Made Aware Of

There remain more questions than answers when it comes to vaccinations, which is why we regularly see "mysterious" side effects – like SIRVA or even narcolepsy – popping up after vaccines are recommended for universal use. It is also not widely understood that the artificial immunity created by a vaccine is not the same as the natural immunity you acquire from a natural infection. When children are born, they develop natural immunity to a large variety of microorganisms that they breathe, eat, and touch.

The immune responses initiated by cells lining their airways, skin, and intestines are very important in creating "memory" and protection against the microorganisms they naturally come into contact with every day. That primary line of defense is a very important step in the maturation of your child's immune system – and it's bypassed when he/she gets a vaccine. With vaccination, you are merely creating antibodies but, as a Journal of Virology study showed, unvaccinated children actually built up more antibodies against a wider variety of influenza virus strains than the vaccinated children.15

Vaccines usually do not impart long-term immunity because they don't create the kind of memory that occurs when you go through the process of a natural immune response. Natural exposure does not necessarily lead to symptoms of infection – it is possible for your immune system to respond and for you to obtain natural immunity without actually getting sick, if your immune system is functioning well.

In fact, vaccines do not strengthen the healthy functioning of your immune system but may weaken it. Here are just some of the ways vaccines can impair and alter your immune response:

  • Some components in vaccines are neurotoxic, and may depress your immune response or cause brain and immune dysfunction, particularly heavy metals such as mercury preservatives (thimerosal) and aluminum adjuvants
  • The lab-altered vaccine viruses themselves may also affect your immune response in a negative way
  • Vaccines may alter your t-cell function and lead you to become chronically ill
  • Vaccines can trigger allergies or autoimmune disorders. Vaccines introduce large foreign protein molecules into your body. Your body can respond to these foreign particles in a way that causes an allergic reaction or triggers autoimmunity, especially in persons genetically or biologically vulnerable to allergy and autoimmunity