Since the first person to receive the Pfizer–BioNTech vaccine to protect against Covid-19 was administered in late 2020, more than 7 million doses have been given to people across Ireland to fight against this new novel coronavirus that has taken many lives.
In the vast majority of instances, the administration of the vaccine passes without any issues besides mild to moderate side effects that are documented by health authorities. However, occasionally the healthcare professional who administers the dose may inject it too high up on the arm resulting in an injury to the musculoskeletal structures of the shoulder. In this scenario, you may have a case to bring a vaccine injury compensation claim. If you have experienced side-effects following the administration of a vaccine, please read our blog update here.
Bringing a vaccine injury compensation claim in Ireland
Injury caused by the injection of a vaccine into the shoulder is referred to as a Shoulder Injury Related to Vaccine Administration (SIRVA). This is a preventable occurrence caused by the injection of a vaccine into the shoulder capsule rather than the deltoid muscle. This can lead to an inflammation of the shoulder structures causing pain, a decreased range of motion, and a decreased quality of life.
Symptoms of SIRVA can include the following:
- Intense, prolonged pain and limited range of motion
- Bicipital Tendinitis
- Rotator Cuff Tears
- Subacromial Bursitis
- Adhesive Capsulitis (known commonly as frozen shoulder)
Symptoms usually occur a number of days or weeks after a patient has received a shot.
In the majority of cases, the symptoms of SIVRA can be treated with medication and physiotherapy to alleviate inflammation and improve the range of motion. However, in more severe cases patients will remain symptomatic and surgery may be necessary to repair the damage done to the shoulder’s ligaments and tendons.
If you have experienced any of these symptoms, and you believe they are connected to a negligent vaccine administration, get in touch with our experienced medical negligence solicitors today to discuss whether you might be able to bring a vaccine injury compensation case against the organisation that administered your dose.
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Frequently Asked Questions
Some of the questions often posed to our medical negligence team.
What are the most severe effects of SIRVA?
The most severe effects include intense, persistent shoulder pain, significant limitation in range of motion, and potential long-term disability. These symptoms can severely impact daily activities and quality of life. In extreme cases, SIRVA may require surgical intervention to repair damaged shoulder structures such as the rotator cuff or to relieve compressed nerves. The condition can also lead to chronic pain syndromes, making management and recovery challenging.
Which vaccines can cause SIRVA?
SIRVA can potentially be caused by any vaccine administered via injection into the shoulder area, due to improper injection technique rather than the vaccine itself. This includes common vaccines such as influenza, tetanus, diphtheria, pertussis, hepatitis and COVID-19 vaccines, among others. The key factor is not the type of vaccine but how and where it is injected. If the vaccine is injected too high on the upper arm or into the shoulder joint space, it can lead to SIRVA.
Are there scenarios where a SIRVA compensation claim may be unsuccessful?
Your claim may be unsuccessful if there is insufficient evidence to prove the vaccine was administered improperly or if the injury cannot be directly linked to the vaccination procedure. Claims might also fail if the statute of limitations has expired or if pre-existing shoulder conditions are deemed responsible for the symptoms. Additionally, if proper vaccination technique was used and the claimant still developed SIRVA, establishing liability can be challenging. Successful claims typically require clear medical documentation of the injury and its connection to the vaccine administration, emphasising the importance of thorough and prompt medical evaluation and record-keeping.
How can a solicitor help me bring a successful vaccine injury compensation claim?
A solicitor can help you bring a successful vaccine damage claim by providing expert legal advice, gathering and presenting evidence effectively, and navigating the complex legal processes involved. They can assist in obtaining medical records, expert testimonies, and other necessary documentation to establish the link between the vaccine administration and your injury. Their expertise ensures that your claim is filed correctly, within legal time limits, and that you are adequately represented, significantly increasing your chances of receiving fair compensation
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About McCarthy + Co
With more than 30 years of experience in dealing with medical negligence claims, McCarthy + Co. has expertise in a wide variety of fields including surgical and vaccine negligence cases. We are a family-run business, and we pride ourselves on offering honest, impartial and helpful advice.
Our offices are based in Dublin and Cork, but we work with clients throughout Ireland in locations ranging from Galway to Waterford. You can count on us for legal advice, guidance and assistance on any form of personal injury.
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John McCarthy is a seasoned solicitor with almost 20 years of experience, specialises in personal injury and medical negligence claims, focusing particularly on high-value compensation cases. His extensive litigation experience spans Circuit Court, High Court and Supreme Court levels.
John's practice involves a diverse range of cases, from personal injury and wrongful death to property damage, defective products, professional negligence and judicial reviews.