I’m 42, mother of a daughter and an active worker. Prior to the vaccine I had mild case of FND (functional neurologic disorder) and sub clinical thyroid disease (Graves’ disease) but I’d never been medicated, just blood monitored. It didn’t really cause me any day-to-day issues other than a bit of fatigue.
I had to get the vaccine because it was mandated by my work and due to my conditions I have to see specialists, and no one, including my own GP, would see me unless I was vaccinated.
I got the Novavax vaccine on 21 February 2022. About five minutes after having the shot I felt a hot gushing feeling down the back of my throat which tasted like metal or blood and leaving an icy feeling for about a minute. I told my husband who was sitting next to me and a few people who had listened in (we were squashed in a waiting room) and they all looked at me in shock.
I waited the standard 30 minutes, and they sent me home. Four hours later at home I was on the lounge when I started getting a deep throbbing headache which felt like the worst hangover I’ve ever had. I thought I’d just wait it out as it was ‘known’ to be a common side effect and nothing to be alarmed about.
I woke up the next day with a temperature. I didn’t feel good at all but I had to go to work because it was my long service celebration. I was feeling hot all day long. I took Panadol but nothing changed.
The next day things got worse. After finishing work, I was lying on the couch and I started getting the worst chest pain, it felt like a TENS machine zapping my chest. I had to grab underneath my left breast bone to help reduce the pain. I couldn’t sit up or it would feel like I was being zapped again. Even the thought of it sends me into a spiral.
I then rang Healthcare Direct to speak to one of the nurses about it. The first thing I mentioned was that I’d had the vaccine and the nurse responded asking me, ‘Was it Pfizer?” I responded, ‘No, it was the Novavax’. Based on the symptoms I was presenting she told me that I needed to get to the hospital, so my husband drove me there. I was seen pretty quickly; they ran bloods and an ECG. I was there for less than two hours, my results came back clear and they sent me back home with nothing and said it was most likely anxiety.
That night I couldn’t sleep. I was experiencing electric-like zaps/pulses in my brain. It was a 9/10 sharp nerve pain which would come and go in waves. I was also experiencing random sweats which would leave me drenched, and whole body jolts similar to that feeling when you’re going to sleep and feel like you’re falling off a cliff except I was wide awake.
The next day I talked myself up to complete my three hour shift at work. Later that day I was with my daughter at the shops, I let her know I wasn’t feeling well and that I had to go to the chemist to get my blood pressure checked because I was feeling dizzy. My daughter mentioned there was a pop up vaccine clinic nearby and that I should go there instead.
So I went to the pop up vaccine clinic and told them what was going on. They took me behind the curtains as they didn’t want anyone to see what was going on and they laid me down on the concrete. I was white as a ghost by this stage and then my body started going into a full-on tremor which I couldn’t stop. My pulse was down, and I wasn’t improving so after 30 minutes they decided to call an ambulance, but they wouldn’t come until the shop had closed which was two hours later.
The ambulance came and the paramedics had a chat to me – I was still tremoring this whole time. They said that I should go to hospital with them, and I told them I couldn’t afford the ride because it was going to cost me almost $2,000. They helped walk me to my husband’s car and because I was so drained and not ready to deal with the hospital again, I just went home. All I wanted to do was sleep, I was wiped out and felt like I’d just run a marathon.
The next day I did a Telehealth call which put me in contact with a different hospital. I had really bad chest pains coming on so it was time to go again. When I arrived, I waited for four hours to be seen. When they saw me, they asked me straight up if I’d had the vaccine. They then did ECG, bloods and a chest X-ray. They all came back clear, and the doctors told me they knew what to do with reactions to Moderna and Pfizer but they didn’t know anything about the adverse reactions to Novavax because it hadn’t been tested on enough people.
The doctor in charge told me either my body’s immune response was a little different to other people’s and I would just have to wait it out, or it was ‘a response to the vagus nerve which was signalling to my stomach telling my body that I was creating unnecessary pain’. In other words, he was telling me that the pain I was feeling was being created in my head. I was sent home after seven hours without any medication or solutions to what I was experiencing.
This brings me to the current day. The next day was yesterday, 1 March 2022. I was pretty much bedridden all day and it’s no different today. Any time I get up, I instantly feel defeated and tired, and I just want to go back to sleep. I did go to the local GP yesterday and he basically said that, ‘Some people just don’t have luck with the vaccine and you’re going to have to get a different brand for the second shot’. He wouldn’t give me an exemption, just told me to ‘wait five or six weeks and not to get another Novavax’.
My symptoms are getting worse by the day, and today I’ve just started experiencing 8/10 itchy gums and eyes. I feel hot all the time but when I check my temperature it is normal. I’ve lost my appetite and lost a lot of weight. I have noise and light sensitivity, black squiggly floaters in my eyes along with chest pain and full body jolts. It feels like my nervous system is under attack and my cognitive ability is in decline also.