“Syringe and Vaccine” by NIAID is licensed under CC BY 2.0

Small Risk of Shoulder Bursitis After Flu Vaccine

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:

Dr. Elisabeth Hesse. MD Epidemic Intelligence Service (EIS Officer) Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

Dr. Hesse

Dr. Elisabeth Hesse, MD
Epidemic Intelligence Service (EIS Officer)
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study?

Response: Over the last decade, there has been increasing attention given to shoulder injuries diagnosed after intramuscular vaccinations, with multiple publications of case reports and case series. However, to the best of our knowledge, there haven’t been any robust studies to determine how frequently this happens and what may make some people more likely than others to have shoulder injuries after vaccination. The Vaccine Safety Datalink (VSD) is an ideal system to use for such a study, because it contains medical and vaccination records of over 10 million people across the United States. We found that out of the 2.9 million people over the age of 3 who received an injectable flu vaccine (specifically, inactivated influenza vaccine) during the 2016-2017 flu season, fewer than 8 people per million vaccinated developed shoulder bursitis that can be attributed to the vaccination.

MedicalResearch.com: What are the main findings?

Response: While we did find an association between receiving inactivated influenza vaccine and developing shoulder bursitis, the absolute risk was small, and the benefits of vaccination still outweigh the risks. Serious adverse events following influenza vaccine are rare. Safe injection practices minimize the risk of injuries, infections, and non-infectious adverse events for both patients and providers. CDC has a web-based training curriculum of best practices available for vaccine providers. 

MedicalResearch.com: What should readers take away from your report?

Response: Although this study started with a population of 2.9 million people who received a flu vaccine during the 2016-2017 flu season, the total number of bursitis diagnoses we found was too small to identify any risk factors that may make one person more likely than another to develop bursitis after vaccination. More knowledge about risk factors might help target prevention efforts in the future. In addition, we only looked at one type of intramuscular vaccination — inactivated influenza vaccine; additional research would be needed to determine if the risk is the same for other vaccines.

MedicalResearch.com: What recommendations do you have for future research as a result of this work?

Response: We believe that increasing vaccine providers’ awareness of subdeltoid bursitis as a potential adverse event following vaccination is a first step toward preventing this type of adverse event. Providers should ensure all staff members who administer vaccines receive training on proper vaccine administration.

No disclosures.


Risk for Subdeltoid Bursitis After Influenza Vaccination

Elisabeth M. Hesse, Ronald A. Navarro, Matthew F. Daley, Darios Getahun, Michelle L. Henninger, Lisa A. Jackson, James Nordin, Scott C. Olson, Ousseny Zerbo, Chengyi Zheng, and Jonathan Duffy

Annals of Internal Medicine 0 0:0 


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Last Modified: Jun 28, 2020 @ 7:26 pm

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