ROSEMONT, Ill. (January 6, 2021)—With the initial distribution and administration of a COVID-19 vaccine underway across the globe, the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons (AAOS) reiterated the importance of evaluating scientific evidence when weighing the risks and benefits of a vaccination’s effects on the musculoskeletal system. To-date, there is no high-quality evidence that indicates vaccinations administered correctly to the shoulder area can injure the shoulder.
“The availability of a safe and effective vaccine against this deadly virus is a powerful opportunity to turn the tide against a highly infectious disease that has infected more than 20.5 million Americans and resulted in more than 350,000 deaths in the United States alone,” said Joseph A. Bosco III, MD, FAAOS, AAOS President. “While any treatment carries some level of risk, there is no credible evidence that shows a direct link between a vaccination and shoulder injury, outside of muscle soreness or rare inflammation about the shoulder. With the widespread adoption of the COVID vaccine, we can help ensure the public health protections needed to end the pandemic and get back to regularly providing our patients with the highest quality musculoskeletal care that many so desperately need and deserve.”
The AAOS Council on Research and Quality reviewed the evidence on vaccine administration and shoulder injuries in June 2020, and the AAOS Board of Directors adopted the position statement. As new high-quality evidence emerges, AAOS will continue to examine these studies using its stringent process which evaluates study design, randomization, control measures, risks and other elements and update its guidance and quality tools, as appropriate.
As the trusted leader in musculoskeletal health, the AAOS is obligated to provide guidance and leadership in public health issues which affect the musculoskeletal system. The implementation of a nationwide effort to vaccinate our fellow citizens is one such issue. After careful consideration of the available evidence, the AAOS gives its full and unqualified support for the widespread adoption of the COVID -19 vaccination.
“Orthopaedic surgeons stand ready to discuss any apprehension that patients may have regarding the vaccine. We will also closely monitor the outcomes of the vaccine for any, as yet, unreported credible evidence of untoward musculoskeletal effects,” added Dr. Bosco. “If any such credible evidence arises, we will communicate this to the public and if needed, change our recommendation.”
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About the AAOS
With more than 39,000 members, the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons is the world’s largest medical association of musculoskeletal specialists. The AAOS is the trusted leader in advancing musculoskeletal health. It provides the highest quality, most comprehensive education to help orthopaedic surgeons and allied health professionals at every career level best treat patients in their daily practices. The AAOS is the source for information on bone and joint conditions, treatments and related musculoskeletal health care issues, and it leads the health care discussion on advancing quality. Follow the AAOS on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and Instagram.