I’m 54 and was fit, healthy, and active before I had the vaccine. I had no prior medical conditions, took no medications, did not smoke, and only drank socially. I worked 8-to-10-hour days as a delivery manager for a large company. (I love my job, so I thought nothing of working extra hours.) I could easily work 10 hours and then go for a 40-minute walk with my wife when I got home. I enjoyed camping, working on old cars, and transforming our 5.5-acre property into a sustainable parkland. My wife breeds champion border collies and we keep sheep and alpacas.
From the outset, I thought the vaccine rollout was ridiculous. I did not believe a word the government said because I look at what governments have done throughout history. I did not want any of these vaccines because they were poorly researched and I knew that it usually took many years for a vaccine to be approved. Also, I did not like the way people were coerced to take them, and I did not like the way vaccine refusers were treated as social pariahs.
Most of my family pressured me to “do the right thing.” But my wife was so against me taking the vaccine that she was prepared to sell our property if it came down to it. My employer was great and never introduced mandates, so all the staff made their own decisions.
I relented in the end because I had to be vaccinated to attend my autistic 11-year-old son’s therapy sessions. I hated the thought of him missing out on his speech therapy, swimming lessons, occupational therapy, and other important appointments. My wife’s autoimmune disorder worried me, too, and I thought getting vaccinated would help protect her.
I got my first Pfizer vaccination at a very busy pop-up hub at the Department of Primary Industries in Orange, NSW, on the 11th of September, 2021 (left arm). I noticed no adverse effects in the 15-minute waiting period and over the next 3 weeks. I got my second vaccination at the same place on the 2nd of October, 2021 (left arm). Once again, I noticed nothing in the 15-minute observation time, but I did get a sore left arm the next day, which I shrugged off.
A few days later, I came down with what felt like cold and flu symptoms and a cracker of a headache. I never normally have headaches and I rarely get a cold or the flu, so this was all very unusual for me. I also noticed an ache in my vaccinated arm that came and went mysteriously. Still, I brushed everything off, put on a face mask, and went to work because I must be at death’s door to stay in bed.
Life returned to normal until mid-December when I suddenly struggled to walk without feeling tired and breathless. I grew very lethargic and sleepless. By Boxing Day, I was really crook with a high fever, a headache, coughing, body aches, and breathlessness. I tested negative for Covid and no other family member was sick or became sick. I had never felt this bad before and was beginning to think it was from the vaccine. My GP was unavailable over the Christmas/New Year period, but when I finally saw him on the 10th of January, 2022, he thought I had a viral infection, perhaps even pneumonia. He prescribed the steroid inhaler Symbicort, which was no help at all.
I saw him again on the 17th of January after I got terrible night sweats that soaked my sheets and bedclothes. My shortness of breath on exertion had also worsened, so he ordered more blood tests, a high-resolution chest CT scan, and an echocardiogram. The blood tests were normal and the CT scan ruled out pneumonia and bronchitis, but the echocardiogram indicated a low-normal heart contractility. My wife attended this appointment with me and requested a D-dimer test to check for clotting (it came back normal). She also expressed her concerns about the Covid vaccines and their alarming safety profile. While he was okay with her bringing this up, he asked no follow-up questions and prescribed me with antibiotics. I took the whole course and felt slightly better.
I spent all of January at home, too sick to work. In early February, my legs spasmed unpredictably and I had restless legs at night. Neither of these issues existed pre-vaccine.
When my wife and I saw my GP again on the 28th of February, he confessed that he had no idea what was wrong with me. He referred me to a cardiologist and noted in the referral that my last echocardiogram (in 2019) was perfectly normal. He also referred me to a lung specialist. My wife had lots more questions, but his attitude was pretty much “see you later.”
I saw the lung specialist soon after on the 18th of March. I told him what had happened since the vaccine and he was on board with the possibility I had a vaccine injury. In a letter to my GP, he noted that my symptoms began after my second Pfizer vaccine. He examined my chest and referred me for a lung-capacity test and a sleep test. My lungs were fine, but the sleep test revealed severe sleep apnoea. He prescribed a sleep apnoea machine and told me not to return because there was nothing wrong with me. I bought the machine, but it was no help at all and I could not sleep with it attached to me.
By now, I was constantly breathless and breaking into sweats for no obvious reason. I knew something was wrong, despite what the lung specialist had said. I would be standing still and then suddenly have hot flushes and get so dizzy I needed to sit down. (To this day, these symptoms persist.)
Together with my wife, I saw the cardiologist on the 1st of August, 2022 and she ordered another lung scan and a CT pulmonary angiogram. When we mentioned the possibility of a vaccine injury, she quickly changed the subject. I saw her again on the 1st of September and she said my lung scan was normal. I showed her the notes my wife had encouraged me to take that described my symptoms during an attack. After reading them, she admitted that, yes, I did have some kind of problem. She ordered a myocardial perfusion study and set me up with a heart-bug monitor to record my attacks. “If I don’t find anything,” she said, “I might have to put your symptoms down to an adverse vaccine reaction.”
I saw her again on the 23rd of September. She said the myocardial perfusion study pointed to myocardial ischemia — a condition affecting my left ventricle that causes the blood to flow in normally but to pump out abnormally — but she thought it was a minor issue. The heart-bug results revealed supraventricular tachycardia (SVT), a condition causing intermittent dizziness and a fast heart rate. She prescribed the beta blocker Bisoprolol to help lower my blood pressure and told me to take a 100mg tablet of Cartia aspirin every day.
I had my CT pulmonary angiogram on the 6th of October and the surgeon was dumbfounded because he expected to put in a stent but found nothing wrong. However, in a letter to my cardiologist, he said I needed a follow-up appointment to review my medications and to optimise my treatment for mild cardiomyopathy. While I was in hospital, a cardiologist asked me when all my problems started. When I told her it was after my 2nd Pfizer vaccine, she said she was seeing a lot of combined heart problems and sleep apnoea in the vaccinated.
Another thing that concerned me since the vaccine was an increase in bowel bleeding. Although I’d bled prior to the vaccine in 2021, it was very infrequent and a colonoscopy gave me the all clear. But this time, the bleeding was more frequent and heavier. My GP referred me to a colorectal surgeon who ordered a colonoscopy for the 8th of November. My surgeons were concerned about putting me under because of my irregular heartbeat, but they went ahead and the colonoscopy results were all normal.
When I saw my cardiologist on the 1st of December, she told me to stop the aspirin because my angiogram was clear and she booked an echocardiogram for the 8th of February (it found my right ventricle to be borderline dilated).
With my wife by my side again, I returned to the cardiologist on the 16th of February, 2023, and she asked how I was. When I told her that nothing had changed, the atmosphere grew very uncomfortable. I got the feeling she had no idea what to say to us. She said that from her point of view, my heart was fine. I sat there in disbelief, and my wife told me later that she saw fire in my eyes. She turned to the cardiologist and said, “Well, why did the myocardial perfusion study mention myocardial ischemia? The cardiologist said it was sometimes a false negative (by that, she meant the test result could be wrong) and she told me to call a respiratory physiotherapist to help me regain my fitness. Once again, I could not believe my ears. I could barely walk and knew I needed much more support before I could even begin to work on my fitness. But I also knew from our previous appointments that there was no point questioning her or arguing the point. She was simply not open to discussion. As we headed to our car, I said to my wife, “I wasn’t like this before the vaccine. What are they covering up?” I felt as if my injury was being swept under the carpet and we gave each other a tearful hug in the carpark
By now, I needed to finish work early and go home to rest. I stopped putting in overtime for the love of it and returned to my standard 8-hour day. I became an object of amusement and people joked when they heard me climbing the steps to the office. “Here comes Pete,” they’d say, as I huffed and puffed my way up the stairs. Prior to that 2nd vaccine, I raced up those stairs easily.
The night sweats grew more intense and frequent. I could no longer do any physical work around the property and was forced to watch my wife unload granite as I could not manage a single shovel without feeling breathless and dizzy. Mowing the lawn was out of the question. We had a flood and I could not even fix the fence. (A few years ago, I could chop two tons of wood and lug it all back. Now, even cutting a branch makes me breathless and drenched in sweat.)
The bowel bleeding worsened and I bled all through the last week of March. I had another colonoscopy, which found several polyps. I had a gastroscopy at the same time and it discovered a tiny gastrointestinal stomach tumour. It took a month to get the biopsy results because the pathology lab was so busy. Our health system is a mess. When my doctor rang with the results, he said two of my polyps were fine, but the third was a low-grade cancer. All polyps were removed during the colonoscopy, but my wife still worries because no polyps were there four months ago at my last colonoscopy.
When I first voiced my concerns that this was a vaccine injury, my family thought I was mad. They said I could not possibly be vaccine injured and my workmates agreed. But when my mum and dad saw me having an attack, Mum said she could see I was not making it all up. “I was never making this up,” I told her.
I now take three times longer to do what I used to do at work. At 6’4” and 102 kilos, I am not exactly a small person, but I feel less worthy and less masculine. I have always been very fit and this is doing my head in. I still get night sweats and wake up dripping wet. I still have the strange, unpredictable leg spasms and restless legs. Physical work around our property is impossible. My left arm still hurts randomly. If I walk faster than a stroll, the shortness of breath and sweating starts. I still take a blood pressure medication and a low dose anxiety medication. No one can explain why I am constantly tired.
My message to people is this: These vaccine injuries are an emotional and financial strain. Stop listening to the government because the government organised the vaccine rollout in the first place. And stop listening to people who aided the government and administered these vaccines to people. Everyone is different and we all have our own unique circumstances and health problems. What is good for one is not necessarily good for everybody else. Trust your gut.