I am a 40-year-old Egyptian immigrant. I am a husband and a father to my children who are aged eight and four. Before having the COVID-19 vaccine I was known as vibrant Sami, the guy that owned a popular cafe and knew everyone’s name. I was a ball of enthusiasm, healthy, motivated and confident. My focus has always been on how best I can provide for my family, so much so that I barely noticed the 20-hour days I was working.
When the vaccination mandates were put in place, I lost my ability to make ends meet. So I put my body on the line to protect my family.
I was vaccinated on 24th July 2021. During the next two weeks l started noticing chunks of my beard falling out, then I lost my eyebrows and then I began waking up to chunks of hair on my pillow in the morning.
I got my second vaccination in September. I then went completely bald. No eyelashes, no eyebrows, nothing. I saw a dermatologist and he said, “It is 100 percent linked to the vaccine.” He went on to say that my immune system was in complete shock. However, he could not (or would not) report this to the TGA or put it in writing for me.
In addition, I began to experience extreme anxiety. I found myself out of control, unable to eat, unable to sleep and unable to function. I have been put on anxiety medication just to stay alive. This experience has turned my life upside down.
When I look in the mirror at myself now, I don’t see ‘Sami.’ Yes, I look completely different, but what I really don’t recognise is the broken man that stands before me. I now wait until it’s dark to take the bins out so no one will see me and ask me what’s wrong with me. I fear working because I can’t handle one more nasty comment about my appearance. The worst part of all is that I was coerced into making this decision, coerced by a government that I trusted and travelled the long distance from Egypt for. Some might say it’s just my hair, but this predicament has made me question my life more than once. If it weren’t for my family, I can confidently say I wouldn’t be here anymore with what I have been put through. I have had my autonomy stolen from me and that, I can never get back.