A Minnesota woman says she was hospitalized and had to have surgery after she received a flu shot.
Jacalyn Broze, of Plymouth, was vaccinated at her local grocery pharmacy last year like her doctor recommended.
But within 24 hours, she was experiencing extreme shoulder pain and an MRI later showed that her rotator cuff was completely torn.
Doctors told her she had a rare condition known as SIRVA, which occurs when a vaccine is not properly administered.
Jacalyn Broze (pictured), of Plymouth, Minnesota, experienced severe shoulder pain after receiving the flu shot at her local grocery pharmacy last year
After visiting several doctors and undergoing an MRI, Broze (left and right) was diagnosed with SIRVA (Shoulder Injury Related to Vaccine Administration). It is a rare condition that occurs when a vaccine is injected improperly, such as too high or too deep into the shoulder muscle
‘I always get a flu shot,’ Broze told WCCO. ‘Within 24 hours, I knew something wasn’t right.’
Broze said that the pharmacist had told her she would have soreness for just a day or two after the shot.
But the very next day Broze was experiencing extreme pain that made it difficult for her to lift her arm.
Weeks later, during a chiropractor’s visit, her right shoulder and arm were uneven with the left and sloping downward.
Broze visited several specialists who could not diagnose what was wrong with her, until she met one surgeon.
‘The surgeon had me do another MRI, and everything had fallen off. A complete tear of the rotator cuff,’ Broze said.
Also known as a full-thickness tear, it meant all of the tendon had separated from the bone.
After learning that she had received a flu shot a few weeks earlier, the doctor diagnosed her with SIRVA.
SIRVA (Shoulder Injury Related to Vaccine Administration) is a rare, but painful side effect that could occur when receiving a jab.
The flu shot is meant to be administered in the deltoid muscle, a triangular shaped muscle located on the outermost part of the shoulder.
However, the vaccine can sometimes be improperly injected, such as too high or too deep into the shoulder muscle.
Sufferers experience an inflammatory reaction that could affect ligaments, tendons, nerves or the bursa, which is a sac filled with fluid that lubricates the shoulders.
Symptoms typically develop 24 hours after receiving the vaccine and can include prolonged pain, weakness, stiffness and not being able to move the arm much.
About 70 percent of SIRVA cases are caused by the seasonal flu shot, which is likely because it is the most commonly administered vaccine.
Broze (pictured) had a complete rotator cuff tear, meaning all of the tendon had separated from the bone, and had to undergo surgery and physical therapy for her injury
Health officials stress that SIRVA is rare and that it is vital to get vaccinated, especially because the 2017-18 season was one of the most severe on record. Pictured: Broze’s muscle tear during her surgery
The injury was first reported in 2007 and is currently recognized by the Vaccine Injury Compensation Program (VICP), which is managed by a division of US Health & Human Services.
VICP said that in 2016, 202 people were awarded compensation in SIRVA cases.
In most cases, SIRVA is treated with either pain medication to reduce inflammation and physical therapy to get back a range of motion.
In cases that are more severe, surgery may be required to repair tears or damage done to tendons or ligaments.
However, health officials stress that SIRVA is rare and that it is vital that people receive their vaccines.
‘The last thing you want is panic when you’re in the throes of vaccine season and trying to get as many people vaccinated as possible,’ registered nurse Caren Gaytko, the senior director of community care at Hennepin Health in Minneapolis, told WCCO.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the 2017-18 season was one of the most severe on record.
Across the US, 179 children died and thousands were hospitalized. The CDC said 80 percent of the children who died were not vaccinated.
In response, the American Academy of Pediatrics published a statement last month recommending everyone six months old or older get a flu shot by the end of October.
Broze, who underwent surgery to repair the tear, says people should not be discouraged from getting their flu shot just because of what happened to her.
‘I would not tell anyone not to get a shot, but just being careful how it’s given,’ she said.