My life was going well. I was happy and enjoyed my jobs. I had been working in admin in the medical field for 25 years. I had an excellent work record and rarely took any sick days as I was generally very healthy.
In July 2021 things were about to change as the COVID vaccine was mandated for health-care workers. In our small practice there were a couple of doctors, reception staff and a nurse. There was some discussion in the workplace over the mandate, but it was increasingly being pushed on staff to get it. There were emails from NSW Health mandating us to get it. The doctors encouraged it too. I was reluctant as I was concerned about the reactions and held out as long as possible. I did stress about it a lot, waking up in the early hours of the morning and feeling very pressured to get it. In our medical practice on vaccination days, the COVID vaccines were also being given to about five people every 10 minutes during the vaccination sessions. No medical history was taken and nothing was signed by anyone.
On 1 September 2021 the nurse convinced me to get the AstraZeneca vaccine as she had a spare dose and a patient had not arrived. I had it administered in my left arm by one of the doctors and it was a bit sore afterwards. Once again, no medical history taken and nothing signed. I went back to work but by the end of the day I started to feel off. I didn’t feel normal and I just felt a bit strange. I do believe I haven’t ever really felt the same since I had my vaccination. The next day I woke to stomach and intestinal pain and extreme discomfort, feeling as if my stomach was very inflamed. This was quite severe and persisted for two weeks. After the first week I called the vaccination hotline number and spoke to a doctor. He said it was a normal reaction and would settle after two weeks. The symptoms were reported to the TGA at this time. I eventually took some slippery elm powder on recommendation of a naturopath, which helped immensely.
On 6 September 2021 my eyes began to feel very sore and irritated. It was a burning pain that was probably 9 out of 10 and constant to the point where I was taking Nurofen, the only thing that gave me relief. I visited my optician who did a lot of testing and he informed me that my corneas were pitted and looked like they had been sandblasted. He diagnosed this as pitted corneas or punctate keratitis. He stated that I would not pass a driving test at this time due to my eyesight being badly affected.
I went to see my GP, an integrative holistic doctor, who acknowledged that I had a reaction to the vaccine and wrote me a contraindication letter. This excused me from the AstraZeneca vaccine, which just meant that next time I would be encouraged to get another type – Pfizer or Moderna. She verbalised that this was an immune response to the vaccine, but was unable to give me an exemption due to the restrictions placed on doctors regarding exemptions.
I returned to my optician every two to three weeks until the end of 2021 for follow-up appointments and I was prescribed many different eye drops to try. The optician was not willing to admit that my injury was a vaccine injury. He told me to do some research on the internet and I would find a lot of reports, but he was not willing to put his name to this at all. I checked in with the TGA numerous times regarding my eye injury and it is reported in the injury records, along with many other reports of eye injuries and thousands of other assorted adverse reactions.
During this time, I returned to work at the medical practice and explained my vaccine injury to my bosses. Neither showed any interest or empathy for my situation, never queried as to how I was going and offered no assistance medically at all. They seemed happy to ignore it.
My job became increasingly difficult as my eyes were extremely sore and working behind the computer for eight hours was a real struggle. In November 2021, due to not being fully vaccinated and the government mandates, I was asked to leave. I received an email from the medical practice management which stated that, due to my status, I could no longer be employed in my position.
I have found it quite life changing to be in a situation where, because I am not fully vaccinated and don’t have an exemption, I am unable to apply for work in the field I have been employed in for the last 25 years. I am on job seeker payments – not what I had planned for my future at all! I am in my early 60s so just hopping into another career is not really an option.
I did submit a worker’s compensation claim, which was provisionally approved, and I saw an ophthalmologist to get an opinion for the insurer. The specialist placed temporary punctual plugs in my tear ducts for six weeks to see if it helped. It didn’t. When I went back for my follow up and informed him that it hadn’t made any difference, he stated that he had nothing else to offer and said that he had told the insurer that my injury had nothing to do with the vaccine. My claim was subsequently denied.
I have since been to NSW University Optometry Clinic for treatment and tests and they were very helpful. I am following their advice with new drops and other methods to hopefully make some difference with my situation. I’m on Stage 1 treatment and if this doesn’t improve things there are other options we can try.
I have had another examination very recently with another ophthalmologist who has confirmed and agreed that it is more than likely the COVID vaccine that has caused my injury. There are now studies to validate the fact that ocular injuries are an adverse effect of the vaccines.
I suffer on a daily basis with pain, severe irritation and dryness, to the point where I am administering eye drops numerous times every hour, every day, all day. I often feel extremely tired, even in the mornings, as my eyes are so constantly sore. The diagnosis at this stage is severe dry eye because of the oil glands in my eyes being damaged and no longer functioning from the immune response to the vaccine.
I have noticed this year that my immunity is very much compromised. I have had several bouts of the flu that have been very hard to shake. This is unusual for me as I have always been healthy and for many years very rarely got sick.
My mental health has also been challenged. The loss of my jobs and income has been very challenging. The judgement, total lack of interest and the fact that there is no support from the government as far as recognising injuries and assisting those who are suffering, is wrong on so many levels.
I see far worse injuries on this group’s Instagram page; some terrible and major injuries that have completely ruined people’s lives. I do have to take care of my eyes as there is a possibility it will worsen if I don’t apply the recommended treatments. I know my injury is different and not life threatening, but I guess it has changed my life direction and created a situation where I’m injured and, not only being judged and sacked from my employment, but I’m also unable to apply for other jobs as I am unable to get an exemption. Apparently, I should just pick another one of the vaccines and let them administer that.
I share my story to spread awareness of what has happened to me after taking the vaccine. Perhaps there are others out there with a similar story and maybe my information may help them. I would like validation for what I have endured – that it is a vaccine injury and I have not imagined it. My heart goes out to others who have been terribly impacted.