My name is Anthony. I am 56 years old, and live in Mount Gambier, South Australia. I live with my wife of 29 years and have one adult son.
Before my vaccine injury I worked for a non-government organisation (NGO) as a mental health support worker, alongside other mental health professionals. My role was to help people to integrate back into the community as part of their mental health recovery plan.
My health prior to August 2021 was always good. Whilst I wasn’t a gym goer, I did work full-time and enjoyed gardening, walking regularly, caravanning, and undertook any necessary home maintenance tasks. We also went on an overseas trip roughly once per year. Life was very normal for a man of my age.
During 2021 it became apparent that the COVID vaccine was going to be mandated for my role at work. I did not want to get what I saw as an ‘experimental vaccine, but I had no choice. My wife pleaded with me not to have it, but I made the decision to get the required two doses as I needed to make house and car payments.
I was given my first Pfizer vaccination on July 9, 2021, and the second on August 8, 2021. I had no initial adverse effects from these vaccines. My life continued as normal until August 20, 2021, just over a week after the second vaccine, when I woke up with acute pain in my right shoulder, chest, back and hand. I couldn’t lift my right arm at all. I also experienced a burning sensation through my neck and spine.
On this day, I attended the hospital via ambulance. At the hospital I had all the relevant tests to rule out heart issues as well as x-rays to look at the areas of concern. I was told that my heart was clear of any problems, and that whilst I had some degeneration of my spine, this was normal for a person my age.
They suggested ibuprofen for the pain, recommended seeing a physiotherapist for further investigation or treatment and sent me home.
Over the following weeks I continued to decline dramatically. I experienced terrible brain fog, memory loss, pain and weakness in my chest, arm, and shoulder, and continued to experience the burning sensation in my neck. This was accompanied by extreme fatigue, anxiety, and feelings of depression. In the subsequent months I had three more trips to the emergency department due to these debilitating, ongoing symptoms. I often felt like I was going to have a stroke or heart attack. I saw several doctors during this period but received absolutely no support from these medical professionals. They continued to send me away with no answers.
From September 2021 to December 2021, I attended weekly appointments at a physiotherapist and attended the GP regularly. I was placed on restricted work duties as I could not work at my full capacity. I had an x-ray of my thoracic and cervical spine, and it seemed the doctors were clearly acting on the assumption that I had a trapped nerve somewhere.
During this time I asked my physiotherapist if he thought this issue could have been caused by the vaccine. The physiotherapist, (who was extremely pro-vax), told me that it could not possibly be from the vaccine and refused to entertain this possibility.
I also asked my usual GP if it was a possible vaccine injury. As he was also pro-vax, he too advised it could not be vaccine related.
In December 2021 the physiotherapist decided that he couldn’t do anything further for me and referred me to a surgeon for an MRI and further investigation.
When I saw the surgeon, I asked if he thought that the vaccine may have caused my problems. He said that he had no doubt that what I was experiencing was caused by the vaccine. However, he also said that neither he nor anyone else would put that in writing.
When I received the MRI report on my spine, it stated that I had the spine of a 55-year-old with normal degeneration and that my symptoms were simply psychosomatic. My doctor wanted to put me on Work Cover but as there had been no specific work incident to cause my injury, this application was declined.
From the date of my two vaccinations in July / August 2021 through to March 2022 I was able to keep working, however I was on restricted work duties. I was mandated to have another vaccine (the booster) by March 2022. I politely declined this and went on stress leave. I returned to work on 7 March 2022 but was immediately stood down and retrenched on March 17, 2022. Since that time, I have been unable to work full time and currently all I can manage is nine hours per week running my own private NDIS support business.
For a written diagnosis my GP has recorded that I have acute inflammatory arthropathy following my COVID vaccination, along with anxiety and depression. Doctors and specialists have been unable to explain my other symptoms.
Early in January 2022 my doctor told me, “This is not working,” and declined to see me anymore. I went to see a naturopath who used kinesiology and basic hyperbaric treatment. Sadly, there was no change after this treatment. At this time, I was also referred to a local counsellor who I am still seeing to this day.
In May 2022 I commenced proper hyperbaric treatment in Melbourne. This meant travelling from Mount Gambier to Melbourne for every treatment and each 90-minute session cost $300.
Hyperbaric therapy allows you to get 100% oxygen intake rather than the standard 21% that most of us experience in a normal room, and it is highly therapeutic.
I did multiple sessions during May and August 2022, and January and July 2023 at a total cost of over $12,000. I need this this treatment every three to four months. Without it there is a noticeable decline in my health. I am due to go again very soon. My wife tells me that it’s like I have early onset dementia when I haven’t had the hyperbaric treatment within the three-month period. During those periods I need to write things down as I forget everything very easily, I constantly repeat myself and I forget people’s names. I even notice it myself when it gets really bad.
This decline in my health has put enormous pressure on my wife. She has had to witness my health deteriorate and take on additional tasks to make up for the activities I am now unable to complete.
I have seen six different health professionals. All of these except for my current doctor, have severely gaslit me. They all say that my current health condition has nothing to do with the COVID vaccine. They tell me that I am just suffering from muscle wastage, which is inexplicable, and have long COVID, and that I will just have to deal with my ongoing symptoms.
In May 2022, I had an appointment with a new GP as I was seeking another opinion and advice.
I told the new GP of my journey from August 2021 to May 2022 and she was horrified. She has been extremely supportive and has pushed for a diagnosis. She has also written reports to support me being part of the class action that is headed by Doctor Melissa McCann, and filled out paperwork which has been submitted for the COVID vaccine injury compensation scheme. Additionally, she has sent me for a heap of tests (bloods, sugar, D-dimer, liver, etc). My D-dimer came back at 0.23. which apparently indicates micro-clotting, so I have been put on medication for that. I will continue to have ongoing tests and checks for this clotting issue.
My current official GP diagnosis is Parsonage-Turner Syndrome (PTS), also known as acute brachial neuralgic amyotrophy. It causes acute pain in the upper shoulder, back and neck leading to significant muscle weakness, muscle atrophy, and severe sensory deficits. It is a syndrome of unknown cause, however risk factors such as post-vaccination have been well documented. It was also listed as a well-known side effect of the vaccine before it was released to the public.
This has been a debilitating and expensive period for me with additional treatment costs including over $1,000 in supplements, a $2,000 Bionic Air machine which is an air ioniser and purifier and assists my immune system and healing. I have also invested in a 10-litre oxygen concentrator that cost $3,000. This machine helps to maintain adequate oxygen levels in my system.
To date my progress is completely stagnant and nothing that I am currently doing is working.
I am still experiencing depression and anxiety. I have been taken to hospital via ambulance a total of six times to date. They never admit me to a ward as they have no idea how to treat me and it is clear that they have put me in the too-hard basket.
I am seeking acknowledgement of my vaccine injury, and support to help devise the best possible treatment to regain my health. My life, and that of my wife, has been turned upside down and it is hard to see an end in sight.