My name is Tegan. I’m 29 years old and a mother to a three-year-old. I work part-time as a hairdresser. I’ve been hairdressing for the last 15 years and since the rollout, have witnessed many adverse reactions in my clients. However, many of them are unaware that it could be from the COVID vaccine. Previous to having the vaccine, I had zero health issues, exercised every day and ate particularly well. Overall, I would say that my lifestyle was very health conscious.
I was hesitant to get the COVID vaccination. I didn’t want it. I followed a lot of people who were against the vaccine and had seen my fair share of published side effects which clearly showed there was risk involved. I also knew there weren’t any long-term studies, which was concerning to me. At the time though, I was separating from my partner and wasn’t in a position to turn down my work. I had to provide for my daughter and myself, to keep food on the table and a roof over my head.
I got the Pfizer vaccine on 20th September 2021, in my left arm. Within the first 15 minutes, I felt a strange rush come over my body and my resting heart rate was elevated to about 100bpm. I was wheeled into another room. They checked my blood pressure and said I was fine to leave once my heart rate had returned to normal. I left the clinic feeling very fatigued.
Later that night my symptoms continued to get worse. I was starting feel a heaviness on my chest and it was difficult to breathe. I thought this was a part of the side effects, so I let it slide for the next couple of days. However, my symptoms continued to persist over the next couple of weeks. I didn’t go to the doctor because I didn’t think anyone would believe me. I just tried drinking lots of water and eating well. I rested a lot, which helped a little bit, but I never got better.
It was about mid-October and the gyms had reopened in Victoria. I was quite excited to return to the gym. I knew there was something not quite right with me, so I didn’t push myself too hard. After my workout I went to the shops to get some groceries and I suddenly started to feel like I was going to faint. I called someone over and asked them to help me over to a chair. They called an ambulance for me, which took about 10 minutes to arrive. This episode lasted about 30 minutes all up.
When the paramedics arrived, I told them that I hadn’t felt right since the vaccination. They were understanding, but visibly unsure what to do. They gave me an ECG and my resting heart rate was up around 130bpm. They took me to the hospital and on arrival presented my symptoms, explaining that this had been happening since the vaccination. They ran some tests. I had an ECG, blood tests and X-rays. All the tests came back clear and the doctor told me that I was just having anxiety. I was discharged empty handed.
I went home and spent the afternoon resting. It didn’t take long until I started experiencing the same sensation that I had experienced at the shops. I called the ambulance. When they arrived they ran an ECG. Everything came back fine, but because I felt faint and this was to do with my heart, they took me up to a different hospital. On arrival they ran more tests, an ECG, blood tests and an x-ray. The results came back clear and the doctor told me I had anxiety and heart burn. I was once again discharged empty handed.
I was bedridden for the next week and then my symptoms started to settle. I was feeling like I was getting some kind of normality back, so I went to the gym to see if I could sweat it out. I was with my personal trainer, who knew to go easy on me. We were in the middle of a lightweight session and I started to feel like my body was tapping out. I set myself aside. My heart rate went up again and I started to feel the same sensation that had landed me in hospital previously. This time however, I felt like it was pointless going to the hospital, so my personal trainer drove me home. My friend then picked me up and I rested at her place. I was feeling fearful to be on my own. I was scared of dying.
I had called Telehealth a few times over this period. No one was any help to me and I was dismissed as just having anxiety. I tried to get an exemption from the second vaccination. They wouldn’t give it to me. I was told that when I would go to get the second one, she would be with me and make sure that nothing happened. With the added pressure of the doctors and work mandates, I reluctantly gave in and got my second Pfizer on 19th October 2021 in my left arm.
I cried for about 10 minutes. I was freaking out about getting the procedure done and fearful that I was straight up going to die. Luckily, I had no symptoms immediately, with only my current symptoms persisting. As the week passed, the fatigue kicked into next level and I was bedridden for the next week. I concentrated on getting my strength back, to prepare to go back to work again. Other than the heart palpitations, which are now a part of my everyday life for the past year, my symptoms started to improve over the next few months. These palpitations can sometimes happen up to five times a day.
From November 2021 to June 2022, I didn’t have any major flare-ups. I was seeing my GP at least once per month. My iron levels were low, so I was given iron supplements and told that I had anxiety. I was prescribed Valium. They denied any possibility that this could have been caused by the COVID jab. It all felt like a waste of time.
In June 2022, I was shopping with my friend. I walked into a store and suddenly felt faint. I got low to the ground to stop myself from falling and my heart rate jumped up again. This time it wasn’t consistent with what I had experienced before and my heart was racing fast one second, then going very slow the next. This went on for a good 20 minutes. I needed an ambulance but was unable to get one. I called a friend who came down straight away and drove me to the nearest hospital.
At the hospital, they ran more tests and tested my troponin, along with full blood tests and an ECG. All the tests came back clear. However, they told me I may have an arrhythmia and referred me to a cardiologist. I was given a Holter monitor to wear for the next 24 hours, which came back all clear.
Currently, I am still waiting to see the public cardiologist, as I have had to wait for the triage to organise this for me. Later in July 2022, I experienced another episode, which landed me in hospital again. They ran the same tests and I received the same results and the same treatment from the doctor. I was told that I had anxiety again and that it was all in my head. I tried to push for an MRI, but he wouldn’t give me one. I did put up a fight this time, but my argument that this was from the vaccine, fell on deaf ears. I was discharged empty handed once again and told to see my GP.
I finally found a GP who took me seriously. She referred me onto a private cardiologist. I saw this cardiologist in August 2022 and was given an echocardiogram and X-ray. It showed nothing was structurally wrong with my heart and that there was no inflammation, indicating any heart problems. I was prescribed colchicine. I didn’t take it for about three weeks. Once I did start taking it, I noticed some improvements, mainly with my heart rate. However, I have been experiencing more chest pain and have since had two more episodes to the current day, leaving me feeling like I’m back at square one, with no end in sight.
I have no diagnosis and no one has connected my symptoms to the COVID vaccine. This means I’m unable to claim compensation and am stuck working while feeling awful. My quality of life has reached an all-time low, but I’m hopeful that by sharing my story I’ll be able to find some answers, or someone to help me get the outcome I need.