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Twin Cities Woman Undergoes Arm Surgery After Flu Shot

MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) -- A Twin Cities woman says she had to have surgery after getting a flu shot.

The condition is called SIRVA, which stands for "Shoulder Injury Related to Vaccine Administration." It can happen when a shot is injected too high or too deep into the shoulder.

Jacalyn Broze got her flu shot in 2017 like she did every other year, but this time it was different.

"I always get a flu shot," Broze said. "Within 24 hours, I knew something wasn't right."

She had extreme pain in her shoulder. The grocery pharmacy where she got the shot told her it could be normal temporary soreness. But weeks later, her chiropractor noticed her right shoulder and arm were sloping. She saw several doctors before she got an answer.

"The surgeon had me do another MRI, and everything had fallen off. A complete tear of the rotator cuff," Broze said.

She was told she had SIRVA -- an injury to the muscle that occurs when a vaccine is administered improperly.

Dr. Elliot Francke has been a physician specializing in infectious diseases for 40 years.

"I have never seen it," Francke said.

He says SIRVA is extremely rare. The MVNA reports they have given out 60,000 to 80,000 shots in a year, and have not had a case reported in 10 years.

"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," said Caren Gaytko, RN, the senior director of community care at Hennepin Health in downtown Minneapolis.

Broze, who is working on gaining her arm mobility back, says she does not want to discourage people from getting their shot.

"I would not tell anyone not to get a shot, but just being careful how it's given," Broze said.

The Centers for Disease Control does recommend anyone over the age of six months get their flu vaccine every year. If you have questions about which vaccine is best for you, talk to your doctor or other health care professionals.

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