The topic of vaccination has become so politicized that I find myself hesitating to spread any bad news about vaccines, for fear the anti-vax crowd will blow it out of proportion. Shame on me for thinking that way: If I support evidence-based medicine – as I do, of course – then I can’t shy away from evidence that supports conclusions I dislike.

So here goes. I was  dismayed but intrigued to read this article on Wired about “shoulder injury related to vaccine administration” or SIRVA, which the article said is “caused by a vaccine injected too high up on the arm. The prolonged pain and stiffness of SIRVA is distinct—in other words, much worse—than typical soreness from shots.”

A little Googling shows that this problem has been recognized for a while, although you have to wade through posts from the vaccines-cause-autism crowd to find legitimate medical discussion. It’s not clear what about vaccinations would cause a problem or how widespread it is, but it’s not nonsense. It’s also tied up in lawsuits and court action about vaccines – the Wired article was problem by the government’ s decision to add SIRVA to the Vaccine Injury Table, a list of vaccine complications for which getting compensation is easier and faster – which makes it harder to separate the informational wheat from chaff.

Despite learning about this I will still get my flu shot, and any other vaccines appropriate for me (I’m entering the age bracket where shingles vaccines are recommended) because I’m a grown-up and can judge relative risk.

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