Shoulder injury related to vaccine administration (SIRVA): What do we know about its incidence and impact?

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Background Shoulder injury related to vaccine administration (SIRVA) has been recognised as the compensable term for any shoulder injury that may result from an improper vaccination technique since 2017, however, its incidence and impact remain poorly understood. Objectives To examine knowledge of SIRVA through reported cases, determine SIRVA incidence related to COVID-19 vaccinations, and investigate recovery rates. Methods Six pharmacovigilance agencies in the United States of America (USA), Canada, United Kingdom, European Union, Australia, and New Zealand were systematically search to identify all reported cases of SIRVA between January 2017 to July 2021. Primary outcome measures were SIRVA case reports. Secondary outcome measures included recovery status as well as vaccine received, age, and sex. SIRVA-related outcome measures were retrieved between July 18th and July 22nd 2021, with UK data received via personal correspondence. Results Retrospective analysis yielded 505 SIRVA cases since 2017, with 330 (65%) of cases reported from January to July 2021. Sub-analysis, using COVID-19 data of 189 SIRVA cases from 891,906,986 vaccinations, estimated incidence to be 2 per 10 million. 32 cases (7%) had recovered from symptoms at the time of reporting, with 311 (62%) reported as ‘not recovered’, and 162 cases (32%) ‘unknown’. Females represented 75% of reported cases. Conclusion SIRVA case report numbers and incidence from COVID-19 data, compared with prior evidence, raises questions around health practitioner knowledge and reporting accuracy of SIRVA. Recovery rates are poorly understood. A global consensus definition of SIRVA and more transparent and routine reporting is required. The disproportionate representation of females is of concern with no known reasons for this disparity. Further research is needed on SIRVA knowledge in healthcare practitioners, reporting rates, incidence, management, and long-term outcomes for those impacted. Pharmacist vaccinators should be aware of their role in preventing SIRVA and be active in its detection.
Original languageEnglish
Article number100183
Pages (from-to)1-6
Number of pages6
JournalExploratory Research in Clinical and Social Pharmacy
Publication statusPublished - Dec 2022


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