Fact Check: Surgery Caused by Flu Shot

Fact Check: New York Legislator Dies From Flu Shot
Fact Check: New York Legislator Dies From Flu Shot

Should you get a flu shot this year? If you’re feeling a bit skeptical about it, you just might want to read this. The truth about the flu shot, regardless of what anyone tries to tell you, is that it can cause serious side effects for some people.

Minnesota resident Jacalyn Broze spoke to CBS Local after she experienced this first-hand. She developed a condition called Shoulder Injury Related to Vaccine Administration (SIRVA) shortly after having her flu shot for the year.

Could this – or some other risky side effect – happen to you?


• In Broze’s case, she developed SIRVA not as a result of the ingredients in the flu shot itself, but because the injection was given too high and deep into the shoulder. Symptoms range from extreme pain in the shoulder, degeneration in the shoulder joint itself, and even muscle loss or range of movement issues.
• Essentially, SIRVA develops in patients because the ingredients are injected into the joint instead of into the muscle. This results in localized swelling, pain, and inflammation that slowly degenerates the joint over time. If left untreated, SIRVA can eventually cause rotator cuff tears requiring surgical repairs.
• SIRVA is admittedly quite rare. According to the CDC, there were 2,198 cases between 2010 and 2016. That may sound like a lot, but it really works out to around 219 cases per year, or approximately 0.000067 percent of the population in the USA.
• But that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t be concerned. Broze’s medical care team basically blew off her initial complaints of shoulder pain, chalking it up to a “normal” post-flu-shot reaction. Despite the fact that she persistently asked them to look into it, they essentially ignored her until the problem was so severe she lost range of motion and her rotator cuff tore.
• Why is this so concerning? Primarily, because SIRVA isn’t even close to the only form of complication associated with the flu shot. Other potential risks include spontaneous abortion (for women who are pregnant), Guillain-Barré syndrome, severe neurological conditions, allergies, encephalitis, and more.
• Frighteningly, the earliest symptoms that you may be developing one of these conditions are also often chalked up to “normal post-vaccination reactions.” This means patients need to be aware and willing to push for investigations to ensure a potential side effect isn’t overlooked until it is too late.
• According to this document, symptoms may start manifesting as early as one hour after you receive the shot – and may include dizziness, fainting, or a moderate fever ≥ 100.4 degrees Fahrenheit. These symptoms are very similar to what many medical professionals call a “normal” immune response.
• Whether or not you choose to get vaccinated this year, remember that the choice is always in your hands. Do your research, talk to your medical care team, and explore the facts. It’s important to be informed.

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