G’day internet, I’m Charlie. I’m a 50 year old man, fit and healthy, a regular trail runner, and Masters educated professional working in business strategy in Perth.
I have a solid science and technical background, having worked in many fields from defence, bioinformatics (gene sequencing), drug discovery and toxicology, supercomputing and forensics. So I’m pretty okay with understanding all the science-collecting and analysing data, making assessments, and working through problems dispassionately.
I knew already that the data related to the COVID vaccine was showing issues with lack of efficacy against infection and transmission, so I was pretty sad when I found out I was mandated for one, given how pointless it would be. I wasn’t too worried about adverse effects. More pissed off at just how stupid and unnecessary the mandates and looming passports would be.
Anyways about my Pfizer vaccination side effect s**t show.
I’m in the Group two mandates here in Western Australia, so I had to take the first vaccine before December 31, 2021, to keep my job. I don’t have an option as the sole breadwinner and support for my family – wife, four kids, mortgage, dogs etc.
I am blah about the mandates, plus I really wanted to wait until there was a chance of actually catching our spiky virus friend before getting vaccinated. No point in peaking too soon and having McGowan, (the Premier), keep the borders closed and have vaccinations and boosters for no reason. Risk is risk, even if low, so for me, it was a case of I going to have to have it. The best decision under the circumstances was to do it when I absolutely had to and not before.
I got the first Pfizer vaccine on the 22nd December, 2021. I started off with vomiting for a few days, sore arm, nothing too crazy. No fever or feeling unwell. I read up and it looked like standard side effects.
A few days later, I went for a run but had to bail. I got cramps and felt exhausted after a few kilometres. Thought it was just my body dealing with the immune response, no big deal, I’d pushed too soon. I walked home.
December 27 to 30 I was very tired. Almost like narcolepsy tired. Nodding off randomly and suddenly during the day. Half the days were written off. But then it was a million degrees outside here in Perth and I had Christmas leftovers to eat so, no big deal. Too hot for walking the dogs anyways, so didn’t really push it.
From New Year’s Day, the chest pains and breathlessness started very suddenly. I also had a day with electric, fire-like stabbing pains down my left arm with tingles in my fingers. Painful enough to make me actually cry out when it happened. The pain started in my left armpit, left groin. Also knees and ankles were very sore. The chest pains were focussed over centre left side and I had real difficulty breathing which carried on getting worse. I definitely was not normal. I wasn’t feeling unwell, it was just the chest pain and pulse racing. My resting heart rate rose over 80 and sometimes was 100 plus, which is nearly double normal. Just getting up off the sofa sent it over 130. Bear in mind I’m into trail running and usually have a decently low pulse. I haven’t walked my poor dogs since Christmas Eve.
On January 2, 2022 the chest pains on my left side over the heart area became quite severe. It was very hard to breathe and there was a fluttering feeling in left side of my chest. My pulse was very elevated. I had shooting and aching pains in my whole left side, armpit and elbow in particular. Also my fingers had tingling and electric shock pain.
I made a GP appointment. I’m a typical man, I hate the doctors. It feels like defeat to have to go get this checked out. But I know my body and I know what’s right and what’s not and what I can and should cope with and what needs looking at.
January 4 – I have severe chest pain and difficulty breathing, shooting pains in my left side, arm and leg. I sat in the GP waiting room wondering if I was having a heart attack. My chest felt like it was fluttering. The doc put me on an ECG, saw some minor trace abnormalities but otherwise all was normal. Blood pressure and heart rate were high, but there wasn’t much for him to go on. I got a referral for an echo, detailed ECG and bloods. I was sent away without any treatment options.
January 5 – Same as before – serious chest pain. The day was written off. I couldn’t do anything. I was starting to feel pretty pissed off that I had more than two weeks of holiday time that I wanted to use productively for running, jobs in the garden, day trips and so on, and had done nothing at all except completely waste it.
January 6 – Chest pains and breathlessness were really bad. At 9am I asked my wife to take me to the ER. I was feeling terrible. I passed out in the car on the way there. I was rushed through into ER, although they made me wear a f*****g mask which ridiculous as I was gasping for breath. I was actually momentarily angry about this.
Over the six hours I was there, they did two ECGs, four blood tests, a chest X-ray and an ultrasound. They knew right away what they were looking for – I could tell this wasn’t the first time because they were right onto it. But nothing showed up apart from spiky BP and tachycardia. My resting BP 170/120, heart rate was 120. The doc suggested I might be anxious and wanted to give me some benzos. Hmm…. no thank you!
After six hours and fentanyl for the chest pain – ugh, I hated that feeling, I’d be the worst drug addict – I felt okay enough to leave. My BP was normal again. Nothing showed on any tests. The doc suspected costochondritis and asked me if I’d done any physical activity that could have caused it. I hadn’t done a thing apart from sweep the deck of all the summer leaves.
She also mentioned that it could possibly be mild pericarditis, but the ultrasound didn’t show it and they didn’t have the echo to be able to tell for sure. As I was booked in a week later for it anyways, they left it. They set up a referral for a CT and angiogram to rule out arterial issues. I have actually since cancelled that referral as it won’t show anything and it’ll just cost me a fortune.
Friday January 7th – bloods. Nurse has the same story from her first Pfizer vaccination. Horrible chest pains, hospital and tests to rule out but nothing found. Her second and third were fine however, and she recovered after a few months, which gave me some comfort. If that was what I was going to experience, it wouldn’t be the end of the world. Very annoying, however.
From the 7th I was self-medicating with the maximum dose of ibuprofen in case it was inflammation, plus I was taking vitamin D and zinc to boost recovery based on multiple recommendations.
Wednesday January 12th – Off to the cardiologist. Nothing was showing up on the ECG or echo. It’s good that there’s nothing obviously heart related, but frustrating because it’s not getting me closer to answers. I still have significant chest pain, and have developed the shakes. It’s hard to describe. It kind of starts like a tiny ball inside me and rushes out. It doesn’t hurt, but it leaves me feeling like I’ve had 34 coffees, jittery, hyper and tweaking. And my right hand shakes uncontrollably. Now my right eye won’t focus either.
January 19th – Time for the GP results review. Nothing in cardio scans and bloods. He thought the shakes could be anxiety, something I definitely don’t have and I’m pretty pissed off at this suggestion actually. I’m not an anxious person. A pissed off person at this point, yes. But gimme a break. I was prescribed beta blockers for the shaking and double anti-anxiety meds, I subsequently found out. Yeah, thanks. Also BP meds for hypertension, which is a symptom not a cause – gah!
January 25th – I am getting better slowly, but I’m not even close to where I was before the morning of the 22nd December. I sit here a month on with this really annoying stabbing left-centre chest pain, breathing is sometimes laboured when the pain strikes and I’m very quick to tire out.
I still have a feeling of being wired, a twitching right hand and a right eye that’s unfocussed, and more importantly with no real diagnosis I can use. I’m still staring down the barrel of the second vaccination to keep my job and only source of family income, and I’m running out of sick leave from work.
BP meds and beta blockers are working to reduce the high BP induced by the vaccine but as soon as I have chest pain, it spikes up into state two hypertension and my pulse rockets to over 130.
The shaking and feeling wired are not going away.
My chest pain is subsiding from its worst point. But I am still not able to do any physical activity as I feel like I quickly get out of breath and my pulse races, even walking. My ankles and knees and left elbow remain very sore and it hard to stress the joints much without painkillers. I can’t walk the dogs anymore.
Work is sympathetic but the mandate is law and sadly they are unwilling to rock the boat for me. There is some additional sick leave available, but only after I’ve used my base entitlement and only if there is a medical diagnosis saying my illness is related to the COVID vaccine.
My next GP appointment is Thursday 27th. I am going to ask for a deferral so I can:
- heal and
- get the Novavax vaccine.
If the GP is gun-shy about the deferral, I must have the second vaccine by the 31st or get stood down. I can’t afford to be unemployed and unable to provide for my family. I’ll be left looking for jobs in the fraction of what’s in the non-mandated section of the Perth job market.
Based on reading many stories about symptoms and diagnoses, I have serious concerns that I might have pericarditis and the tests just missed it. So the risk there is that having the second vaccination could easily result in very negative health outcomes. I am taking all the risk and I do not have the ability to say no. It’s not informed consent.
My workplace had mandated to have had both vaccinations by the 31st January 2022. I was still waiting to have the CT scan that the ER team had arranged for me, and still was undiagnosed, so I applied for an exemption through the Chief Health Officer in WA. They said NO. I had the response back in under an hour!
Given I was really sick, my work decided I could work from home and wait to get the Novavax as a compromise. I didn’t want to, but to keep my job I thought the Novavax option would be okay.
I had the Cardiac CT scan on 3rd February 2022 and the results were normal. I had thought it interesting at the time that the Medical Imaging department was full of people there for the same thing and the medical staff were pretty open about it having been that way for months and knowing why. I got the Novavax vaccine the 28th February, 2022. It didn’t give me any new symptoms, but it exacerbated the symptoms I had from before, which had started to improve. The ‘go to hospital’ pain had gone, but after the Novavax vaccine I had a very clear relapse for a few months.
My GP, exasperated by my insistence on getting investigation and treatment for this, decided to refer me to the ‘Western Australia Vaccine Safety Surveillance’ team and said I would be contacted by them. This was pretty much the only good thing he’d done for me.
I had been taking Quercetin, NAC, ibuprofen, as well as vitamins and was improving. But every time I pushed myself too hard, I would have a relapse and get the chest pain again. By June, I was doing 10 kilometre hikes but I was only walking. If I tried to run, within a week or two, I’d have a relapse. Going about everyday life, I could still feel it like a silent ghost in my chest, but didn’t notice it too much.
I was taking perindopril blood pressure medication that my GP prescribed to control my high blood pressure, something I’d never had prior to having the first vaccination. But perindopril had a side effect of weight gain and a driving, crazy thirst, so I had to stop taking it. My blood pressure eventually settled back to normal anyways. I was due for my mandated booster by the 30th June 2022. The company policy was no jab, no job, and as my GP still wouldn’t support an exemption, I found other work where the vaccine wasn’t mandated, and handed in my notice.
Most colleagues were very sympathetic, but the executive and Board were the ones who set the policy and HR wouldn’t even entertain discussion about it. In my exit interview I let them know in no uncertain terms they were being unreasonable. I was basically forced out of my career even though they had a perfectly legal avenue available to them – working from home, which we were all doing anyway, and had been for the last 18 months. =
So, I lost my permanent job with benefits, sick leave, and the ability to work from home over this. I got some contracting work before my last day came. The irony was, that the government dropped the mandates for the booster on my last day and the company I was working for dropped their policy the following week. But having made commitments to work elsewhere, (Perth is too small a place to back out at the last minute and leave people in the lurch), I left anyway. I’d seen their true colours anyway and I was ready to walk away.
I finally had the appointment with the WA Vaccine Safety Surveillance team by phone on the 5th July 2022. This was nearly five months after being referred. They said they had 50 referrals a day to their team, and they have a small team. After looking through my records and symptoms, they gave me a diagnosis of ‘vaccine induced pericarditis’, with a treatment plan of colchicine, which my GP could’ve prescribed me much earlier. They recommended a full cardiology review, which I haven’t had yet. They also gave me what is essentially an ongoing exemption, until my symptoms resolving completely, which could take six to twelve months.
They explained the risks and benefit of me having a booster which don’t make any sense at all as there is basically no risk from COVID anymore with Omicron.
They told me they are seeing the adverse events with both Moderna and Prizer but said that Moderna had been the more prominent one with respect to issues.
On Wednesday 27th July I was on a call with the US at 7am and had a doctors appointment scheduled that afternoon to discuss the treatment recommended by the WA Vaccine Safety Surveillance team. By the time the appointment came around I had tremors and my pulse was racing uncontrollably, my tinnitus was really bad, and I had severe pain and pressure in my chest. My blood pressure was 210/110 and I had 160bpm resting heart rate.
My doctor gave me some additional blood pressure medication (Clondine) and requested some more bloodwork (in case it was another rare condition – he clearly is still not convinced that my symptoms are vaccine related).
That evening I had chills and fever and realised it was probably COVID that was driving the relapse in symptoms. However, I tested negative with the RAT I had. I was sick the Wednesday, Thursday and Friday. I went and got a RAT for my wife on the Monday (a different brand to what I’d had prior), as she was having symptoms, and she tested positive. I didn’t do a test at that point as I was pretty much better and WA rules mean I would have had to isolate for a further seven days. My wife isolated for a week and I for a further few days just to be sure.
After my symptoms left, a dry cough appeared which I still have three weeks later. My chest pain (pericarditis) and high blood pressure has been pretty constant since. I’ve been hitting the antihistamine, colchicine and vitamins, quercetin, NAC and black seed oil and ibuprofen It’s made quite a dent in the worst of the pain. I am still taking my blood pressure medication and it’s starting to come down a bit as my body calms down. My pulse has largely returned to normal, back to the mid 50s, which is a good sign. I’m also on low histamine diet with no coffee and alcohol as they trigger chest pain. For a few days I couldn’t wear ear buds due to the tinnitus being so bad. In the week I had COVID, I really couldn’t hear. The tinnitus dominated everything. It’s receding a bit now with the rest of the side effects.
I’m around $6000 to $7000 out of pocket and still have yet to do the full cardiologist review, which will cost a pretty penny. So I’ll be looking at the compensation scheme sometime in future when I have the energy to do so. I think it will take six to twelve months to get through this. Aside from still experiencing tremors, tinnitus and vision issues, I was able to mow the lawn last week= and took the dog for a walk. But I have to take it very slow. I struggle to climb stairs without noticing my chest pain. It’s settling, but still pretty sore. I think in another month or two and I’ll be back to where I was in June prior to getting COVID.
What I will say to people who are battling the same kind of symptoms and getting nowhere with their doctors, is to read up on it. There’s a lot of research now, much of which is reviewed online by people such as Dr Been and Dr John Campbell, both on YouTube. One common thread is vaccine injury and long COVID, which can be basically the same thing and driven by the inflammatory response to the spike protein. So if your medical professional won’t treat the vaccine side effects, maybe they will treat long COVID. They don’t seem to have a problem being up to date with that research. Just saying!