I’m 28, married, and a mother of two. I am generally an active person with great health and have had no prior health conditions. I enjoy hiking and try and go at every opportunity (every week at least). The vaccine was mandated by my employer in November. I held off as much as I could as I didn’t want the particular vaccines that were on offer and I thought I’d wait until the Novavax vaccine was available, thinking it was a safer option.
I had my first Novavax vaccine on the 23rd February 2022. I had no immediate adverse effects but 3 days later my legs broke out in what looked like insect bites. They weren’t itchy but they were painful to touch and had fluid in them. Eventually, they would turn into an open sore. Over the next few days, new pustules would erupt overnight as the others went down. I could even see them starting to form on my legs during the day. The pain was like that of a blister and I considered that it might have been shingles. But as they appeared on the lower part of both legs and didn’t spread anywhere else, I dismissed this as the possible cause. They started going away after two weeks or so and have left me with scarring.
Five to six days after the first vaccination I had bad headaches which, on a scale of one to ten, rated about a nine. They were not like anything else I’ve experienced before. The pain was in the back of my head and radiated down my neck. I managed to get through the bare minimum to function for my family. I spent most of my day on the couch as I couldn’t do anything else. I couldn’t even focus on TV because the pain was so overwhelming. I thought I was dehydrated, so I increased my water intake. Nothing reduced the pain. I’m not one to go to the doctor for issues I believe I can solve myself, but when it got to day five and no amount of Panadol or ibuprofen helped, I went to a local walk-in clinic as my normal GP was booked out for the next two weeks. At this clinic I was prescribed migraine wafers and a muscle relaxant. After two days of taking them, the headache finally went away. I had this headache for a total of seven days.
About the 10th of March I started getting a sensation in my chest. I wouldn’t describe as strong pain but it was annoying enough to make me to grab at my chest. I had tingling down my left arm and it felt distinctly different to my right arm. The pain sensation worried me and I weighed up whether to go to the GP or ED. I ended up going to the GP. He checked my blood pressure and heart rate. My blood pressure was perfect but my heart rate was 115bpm. He told me I was, ‘…just anxious’ and that I was ‘…. absolutely fine’. I mentioned I’d had the COVID vaccine and he again said, ‘No, you’re just anxious.’ I was still not at peace with the result or his explanation, so I pushed some more and he said, ‘Well, we can get some bloods done if you want’. The tests listed on the form were not heart-related so I didn’t have them done as I felt it would be pointless.
I had my second vaccination on 16th March 2022. Four days later, on the 20th, I experienced a crushing sensation in my chest. It felt like someone was sitting on my chest and I could feel it right through into my back. The pain rated around an eight out of ten.
On the morning of the 21st I drove myself into the ED. They checked me to see if I was having a heart attack. The chest X-ray was fine, but the ECG was abnormal and noted ‘Non-specific T-wave inversion, in leads 3 and aVF, query dynamic changes in v4,5’. My D-dimer level was elevated at 0.69. Because of the elevated D-dimer, I was sent for a CT scan, which thankfully showed no clots in my lungs or heart. That result was at least a relief. On the discharge summary given to me that same day, it notes, ‘Given her dynamic ECG in the absence of a troponin leak, organise non-urgent TTE (Echocardiogram) or stress test once symptoms have resolved. Discussed it could be due to a mild pericarditis’. I have a high pain threshold and can assure you that what I was experiencing was not mild. The doctor told me verbally that the COVID vaccines have been causing heart issues, but they weren’t specific on the brands responsible.
My chest pain had continued at the same level from that day until the 26th or 27th, when I’ve started to feel normal again. I’ve not been prescribed any medication for my heart pain. I am scheduled next week to have a cardiologist review and echocardiogram.
I feel angry because I never wanted this vaccination. I chose to have the Novavax vaccine to avoid the heart issues reported for the others but ended up with issues anyway. From the moment I got the blisters on my legs, I believed my issues were linked to the vaccine. I’m back at work as I need to get on with my life, but I wanted to share my story for those who have been waiting for the Novavax vaccine to let them know it’s not any safer than any the others.