Shoulder Injury Related to Vaccine Administration 

Shoulder injury related to vaccine administration (SIRVA) is sometimes reported following administration of vaccine in the deltoid muscle. 

SIRVA occurs when the needle passes over or through the deltoid muscle and is injected into or too close to non-muscular structures in the shoulder. 

The risk of SIRVA is reduced by:

  • Proper injection technique, including site identification
  • Using the appropriate needle length 

Policies should be in place to validate healthcare professional’s knowledge of and skills in vaccine administration.

  • All healthcare professionals should receive comprehensive, competency-based training, including an observation component, before administering vaccines.


CDC Vaccine Administration: Intramuscular (IM) Injection Adults 19 years of age and older

CDC Vaccine Administration videos 

Training and Education



Page last reviewed: March 8, 2022