Got Pfizer Feb- SIRVA next day -concerned that vaccine did not take

Posted by katherine345 @katherine345, Jun 10 10:52am

Associate attending Physician at a major NY hospital who writes for 150 newspapers in March wrote " Though it is possible the cell around the bursa could express some COVID-19 protein, I recommend that a person who developed SIVA after COVID-19 vaccination restart the 2-dose vaccine series." I have SIRVA (frozen shoulder -diagnosed-Adhesive capsulitis of left shoulder<br I have had consistent pain since the day after my 1st Pfizer -got the second dose. I has been 3 months since my vaccine. My doctor disregarded the NY dr.'s statement saying I should be careful and wait for the booster shots. Dr Fauci states that 1 Pfizer is only 33% effective against the new variants. I work with people who arrive from foreign countries – teaching adults. I'm in my 60s & must return to work in August. I got an anti body test on my own which suggest I may have some vaccine in my system, but the independent lab states that these tests are not proven and can't determine immunity. I don't know any Doctors who have information on this issue. I live in CA. Is there any medical group who can speak to this issue? Is it safe to get a 3rd Pfizer vaccine (3 months after the 1st & 2nd dose) because it's likely the first dose didn't take? Thank you, katherine345

Hi Katherine, currently the recommended dosing and scheduling for the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 Vaccine is a 2-dose series separated by 21 days (https://www.cdc.gov/vaccines/covid-19/info-by-product/pfizer/).

Members here on Mayo Clinic Connect are not medical professionals and cannot make medical recommendations. It is best to rely on your doctor's advice or, if necessary, seek a second opinion. Are protective measures practised at your place of employment like masks, distancing and hand washing? Are students vaccinated?

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I too developed SIRVA after my 2nd Moderna shot. None of my doctor's seemed concern. If you find out anymore info please let me know!

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@seaspray

I too developed SIRVA after my 2nd Moderna shot. None of my doctor's seemed concern. If you find out anymore info please let me know!

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Here is an article that may help: https://www.health.com/condition/flu/sirva

It describes how SIRVA can occur from a wrongly placed injection. My daughters are both nurses, and each spent a long time perfecting her injection technique to avoid causing this problem.

According to my PCP, the standard protocol for sustained (3+ months) of pain that does not respond to icing, analgesics and exercise is a steroid injection. The proper site for injection of a steroid must be determined by ultrasound or other imaging.

To avoid this issue in future injections, have you PCP or a skilled nurse show you how to "landmark" your correct injection sit, and pay attention whenever anyone is preparing to give you a shot. If they are not locating it correctly, STOP them and insist they check again.

Finally, SIRVA does not mean you are adversely reacting to the vaccine itself, so don't avoid it in future.

Sue

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Unfortunately Sue, this article does not help! As much as I wanted to have a skilled nurse at Mayo give me the vaccine, I somehow slipped through their algorithm and was not called. Ended up at a Walmart with a Pharmacist assistant. We know that SIRVA is from a wrongly placed injection. What we do not know is whether the vaccine was effective. Would love to find some research on this.

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I suspect I have SIRVA. Shoulder was perfect before getting a vaccination. Saw orthopedic doctor who ordered X-rays, then gave a cortisone shot and prefer PT. Condition got worse. Then got an MRI which showed inflammation and fluid in Bursa. Then got another cortisone shot in the bursa. Condition continued to get worse. Have limited range of motion and pain if I try to stretch or move on certain directions. Taking ibuprofen several times during the day and can’t sleep at night. Anyone have similar story? Any suggestions for next steps?

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@esw

I suspect I have SIRVA. Shoulder was perfect before getting a vaccination. Saw orthopedic doctor who ordered X-rays, then gave a cortisone shot and prefer PT. Condition got worse. Then got an MRI which showed inflammation and fluid in Bursa. Then got another cortisone shot in the bursa. Condition continued to get worse. Have limited range of motion and pain if I try to stretch or move on certain directions. Taking ibuprofen several times during the day and can’t sleep at night. Anyone have similar story? Any suggestions for next steps?

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@esw Hello, and welcome to Connect. We are not medical professions, so we can't diagnose medical problems, but we can share our experiences. I had only one flu shot in my life and it caused my shoulder to swell, so for about 3 months, I could not raise my arm straight up over my head. I had presumed it was an allergy issue with eggs used to culture the vaccine, but it could have been another ingredient in the vaccine. Later I saw an orthopedic doctor for a shoulder instability problem and he did a diagnostic MRI with a gadolinium injection into the shoulder capsule. That caused swelling and a lot of pain right away… so much pain that just the amount my shoulder moved while I was breathing hurt. Moving my arm at all was out of the question, so I put my arm in a sling. It took about 6 weeks until that started getting better, and I had a frozen shoulder. These were old issues, but 6 years ago, I had a diagnostic epidural steroid injection in my spine. That caused immediate pain and burning electrical zapping pains in my hand. Then the doctor injected a dye to evaluate why I had so much pain. I was prescribed a steroid card of pills, but it didn't help. The shooting pain went on for about 6 weeks. The first 2 weeks were the worst, and it got less frequent as time went on. Every time I moved, I got a sharp stabbing pain, so I stayed in bed as much as possible and didn't move. Last March, I had the first Pfizer vaccination for Covid and had an allergic reaction. I had an immediate headache, and noticed a slight pain in the back of my tongue about 45 minutes after the injection, so they sent me to the emergency room. With an IV of antihistamine and a steroid, I felt fine with no symptoms in 20 minutes and they sent me home. The next day, I felt fine, no symptoms, but the 2 days after that, I had asthma breathing issues, headache, some slight facial swelling, and some tingling on my face (presumably caused by the swelling). I took antihistamines, and used my asthma inhalers and the symptoms were controlled.

What all of these reactions might be telling me is that I have an allergic reaction to polyethylene glycol ( "PEG") or an ingredient of a product that was injected. PEG is an ingredient in the Pfizer Covid vaccine and there is a similar component in the Moderna vaccine. I had found something online from another patient about a spinal cortizone injection that caused a problem and he discussed polyethylene glycol as an ingredient of the injection that he thinks caused his reaction. I don't have specific information about ingredients of various products, but this is information that a pharmacist will know, and that is a good question to ask any time an injection is concerned if there was a previous adverse reaction. It is worth asking and keeping track of what the common ingredients are in any injection or prescription that caused a reaction.

I was not able to get the second Pfizer dose, and I completed my Covid vaccination with the J & J vaccine. Instead of PEG, the J & J uses Polysorbate 80 which is a food additive that is used in some ice cream among other things. I tested it by eating at Dairy Queen and that gave me some asthma issues and a headache for a day, but nothing like the reaction to the Pfizer. After the J & J vaccination, I did feel like I had a mild case of the flu for 48 hours, but it resolved quickly after that.

Everytime I had an issue, time resolved it, and sometimes physical therapy to treat a frozen shoulder. When I discussed my Pfizer vaccine response with my doctor, he advised me to use anti-histamines and 3500 mg vitamin C prior to vaccination, get plenty of sleep before and also use my preventative asthma inhalers. I did that before my J & J vaccination and it helped.

After reading your story, I wonder if every steroid injection just made it worse because it injected something your body reacts to. If you just had a vaccination containing PEG and reacted to that, did the steroid injections also contain PEG? That would be a question to ask your orthopedist. Since you have a lot of inflammation that is evident on your imaging, trying to stretch is probably not going to help. Have you tried soaking in an Epsom salt bath? That will allow your skin to absorb magnesium which is needed for detoxification. I don't know if it will help your shoulder inflammation, but it might help you relax a bit. Have you tried taking an over the counter anti-histamine? That helped my reaction to PEG. I think it will just take time for your body to process this and to detox and remove it. I know sleeping is tough when you are in pain. Have you tried ice packs on your shoulder? It sounds like you already have a frozen shoulder, and it might be better to wait until the pain subsides before you try PT to move it. You should ask if PT could cause damage to your joint to try to move it while it is in this inflamed state. Your doctor was trying to help, but unfortunately it made things worse. I think you will be OK in time just based on my experience in a similar situation, and you will need to be proactive in the future and question everything and possible adverse effects of medical procedures.

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@esw

I suspect I have SIRVA. Shoulder was perfect before getting a vaccination. Saw orthopedic doctor who ordered X-rays, then gave a cortisone shot and prefer PT. Condition got worse. Then got an MRI which showed inflammation and fluid in Bursa. Then got another cortisone shot in the bursa. Condition continued to get worse. Have limited range of motion and pain if I try to stretch or move on certain directions. Taking ibuprofen several times during the day and can’t sleep at night. Anyone have similar story? Any suggestions for next steps?

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Hi @esw, I echo @jenniferhunter welcome. You will notice that I moved your post to a discussion that is ongoing about the same subject as yours. I did this so you could connect with people like @seaspray, @sueinmn, and @katherine345

Did you happen to catch Jennifer's questions above? Would love to hear your answer to those.

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Thank you for putting my post with the others that deal with Frozen shoulder caused by an incorrectly delivered COVID vaccine. The shoulder continues to be frozen, but the sharpe pains have decreased over the last month (4 months since vaccine) but my real major concern if only being partially vaccinated with the Variants entering the US. Dr. Fauci said 1 shot is only 30 percent effective against the COVID Variants. I still can't get any advice about the safety of getting a 3rd Pfizer shot. As far as I know antibody tests are still not considered a good indication of how vaccinated a person is and booster shots are not yet available. Any advice is appreciated. Thank you.

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@katherine345

Thank you for putting my post with the others that deal with Frozen shoulder caused by an incorrectly delivered COVID vaccine. The shoulder continues to be frozen, but the sharpe pains have decreased over the last month (4 months since vaccine) but my real major concern if only being partially vaccinated with the Variants entering the US. Dr. Fauci said 1 shot is only 30 percent effective against the COVID Variants. I still can't get any advice about the safety of getting a 3rd Pfizer shot. As far as I know antibody tests are still not considered a good indication of how vaccinated a person is and booster shots are not yet available. Any advice is appreciated. Thank you.

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@katherine345 You may want to look at my long post above yours about reactions to the vaccine ingredients. I have reacted to a lot of stuff and had an allergic reaction to my first Pfizer Covid vaccination a few months ago, and I could not get a second dose. I recently got the J & J to complete my Covid vaccinations. That is a bit hard to find since most US pharmacies in my area are doing either Pfizer or Moderna. I believe I had an allergic reaction to "PEG" polyethylene glycol which is an ingredient. I was able to get the J & J which uses Polysorbate 80 instead of PEG, and that can cause cross reactions if you have allergies to PEG. I managed fine by proactively using antihistamines, vitamin C, and my asthma inhalers on my doctor's advice. Recent stories about the J & J vaccine said it was effective against the Delta variant.

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@amandaburnett

Hi @esw, I echo @jenniferhunter welcome. You will notice that I moved your post to a discussion that is ongoing about the same subject as yours. I did this so you could connect with people like @seaspray, @sueinmn, and @katherine345

Did you happen to catch Jennifer's questions above? Would love to hear your answer to those.

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Wish I could be of some help to those that got the frozen shoulder! Fortunately, I just googled it and went the non-steroid route. I did the shoulder stretches with horrible pain as I learned you need to keep using and moving the shoulder. I graduated to light weights and I am proud to say my shoulder is fine. Have still not found any research on how much antibodies are developed when the vaccine is shot into the bursa. My doctor's at Mayo have no clue. Best wishes to those affected with this. Feel free to message me!

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@jenniferhunter

@katherine345 You may want to look at my long post above yours about reactions to the vaccine ingredients. I have reacted to a lot of stuff and had an allergic reaction to my first Pfizer Covid vaccination a few months ago, and I could not get a second dose. I recently got the J & J to complete my Covid vaccinations. That is a bit hard to find since most US pharmacies in my area are doing either Pfizer or Moderna. I believe I had an allergic reaction to "PEG" polyethylene glycol which is an ingredient. I was able to get the J & J which uses Polysorbate 80 instead of PEG, and that can cause cross reactions if you have allergies to PEG. I managed fine by proactively using antihistamines, vitamin C, and my asthma inhalers on my doctor's advice. Recent stories about the J & J vaccine said it was effective against the Delta variant.

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Wow you have really been through a lot. I don’t think my problem is related to an allergic reaction but rather caused by administering the shot in the wrong location or too deep. I am quite thin with very thin arms. My should area is not very meaty. The needles they use are very long and if the muscle mass is not that great I could see going too deep into the bursa. Or another thing that can happen is the shot is given too high on the arm. I have had other cortisone shots that have really helped- in my lower back. I’ve also never had a problem with other vaccinations so I don’t think it has to do with allergies. It I am concerned about if I am fully vaccinated because I read that if it goes in the bursa you will not get the desired immune response of the vaccination.

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@esw

Wow you have really been through a lot. I don’t think my problem is related to an allergic reaction but rather caused by administering the shot in the wrong location or too deep. I am quite thin with very thin arms. My should area is not very meaty. The needles they use are very long and if the muscle mass is not that great I could see going too deep into the bursa. Or another thing that can happen is the shot is given too high on the arm. I have had other cortisone shots that have really helped- in my lower back. I’ve also never had a problem with other vaccinations so I don’t think it has to do with allergies. It I am concerned about if I am fully vaccinated because I read that if it goes in the bursa you will not get the desired immune response of the vaccination.

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Your story sounds just like what happened to me with one of my flu shots- I knew right away that the pharmacist hit it wrong from both position and pain. My daughter saw the injection site and confirmed that he didn't landmark properly. And I never got an answer about whether I built antibodies, but I didn't get the flu that year.

I needed a cortisone shot to calm the bursitis and lots of painful stretching to get use of my arm back.

Fast forward to 2019‐2021. My vaccine reactions to shingles, flu and Covid were not confined to the shoulder and arm. The were full-body inflammatory system in overdrive. Suffered through it with Shingrix, but after both
Quadravent flu and Pfizer Covid, I had steroids to calm things.

As for whether you are protected, in your place I would ask my doc for a third injection.

What have you decided?
Sue

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