Pfizer # 1: FH3219-002
Astra Zeneca # 1: 325921P
I’m 33 and a mum of 2 boys with no-pre-existing conditions and am a healthcare worker. My workplace (a govt agency) was mandated for the vaccine in 2021. I’ve always been one to look into things like side effects or potential impacts and didn’t want the vaccine as I felt there was a lack of information available. I waited until the very last day to do it but had felt coerced.
I had my first Pfizer vaccine on the 23rd of October 2021 (left deltoid). I felt fine until that night but woke in the early hours of the morning with heart palpitations. I remember feeling that it was strange but ignored it until the third night of being woken up from it. I rung the covid line who told me it was anxiety, that I would be fine, and it would pass. I let it go and it continued but was not as frequent.
I saw my doctor on the 15th of December and she immediately told me not to get a second Pfizer vaccine, and instead suggested the Astra Zeneca vaccine. She wrote a prescription for it, but then also called me the next day and asked me if I had any history of blood clots in my family as this vaccine can cause them which made me feel doubtful about whether I should be getting it as I couldn’t be 100% positive if there was a history of blood clots or not – however I went ahead and had my second vaccine but first Astra Zeneca on the 16th of December 2021 (right deltoid) to keep my job. That night I was extremely unwell. I had chills and fever for the next two days and such bad fatigue that I couldn’t stay awake for more than an hour at a time. I had tingling in my hands, body aches, leg pain, chest pain and a heaviness on my chest that felt like someone was sitting on it. I was waking up gasping for air and felt dizzy/faint. I was in a lot of pain on the left side of my body but particularly in my neck and calf, it felt like intense muscle cramp..
I had a phone consultation with a doctor the next day who said it was probably just anxiety. I then was determined to see the doctor in person, so went on the 20th of December. The nurse did my oxygen level, measured my calves to check for blood clots and tested blood sugar levels. The doctor put in my notes I was tearful and anxious, had a heavy chest unable to get a proper breath, also has pain in left calf and left neck. My results were normal. He dismissed me telling me I had anxiety, that it was all in my head and I’d be fine in a few days.
I went to the doctors again on the morning of the 29th of December, managing to get in with my normal doctor this time (she only works one day a week, so is hard to get into). I had been upset and told her the other doctor had said what I was experiencing was all in my head. She was very thorough with me and gave me an ECG, urgent Bloods, checked my pulse, BP, my calves, abdomen, and sent me for a chest X-ray. She’d said she thought it was Costochondritis, then called me later that day when the results had come back and confirmed my diagnosis was Costochondritis (Inflammation of the chest wall) post Astra Zeneca vaccine. She prescribed me 800mg of ibuprofen slow release to take for 2 weeks, plus 1 repeat prescription. She rang me the following day (30th of December) to see how I was feeling and to check if my symptoms had improved since starting the medication. She said she’d also submitted the CARM report at my request plus I also asked her for an exemption as they were talking about Booster at the time – She made me aware that I would probably not fit the criteria for it but that she was happy to support my application.
The ibuprofen didn’t help the palpitations at all, and they were still consistent, but the ibuprofen took away the chest pain. I was nervous about coming off it after the two weeks in case the pain came back. Within 2 days of coming off it, the chest pain/inflammation returned, so I took the Ibuprofen again for a week as we were away at the time.
I went for a check-up on the 17th of February 2022, to try and apply for another exemption and told her I was still getting intermittent racing heart and Costochondritis. She asked me to give it a week without the ibuprofen. We went away for the weekend from the 18th – 20th of February, and I had the chest heaviness and pain again, so told my husband I was going to get a smart watch straight away so I could monitor my heart, I wanted to show my doctor as the ECG was only ever put on for a few minutes and wouldn’t show anything. I ended up recording a tachycardia episode on my watch/app and showed it to her on the 21st of February. She told me ‘smart watches are not accurate’ and wrote a referral for me to see a Cardiologist. I also mentioned to her that after every time I had been out in sun, the skin on my arms had gotten extremely itchy, even unbearable at times (mostly in the inner elbow) and it was waking me during the night. I was having to sleep with a fan on and a wet flannel with ice on my arms to cool them down. She noted it was probably another symptom from the vaccine and thought I might have been allergic to the spike protein and noted in my records ‘Urticarial rash related to the vaccine’.
When my story was posted in March, I researched things to help detox my body. There are 3 main things I’ve taken that I’ve found to help with my symptoms: Dandelion root supplements, NAC, and Vitamin D. I’m also taking Vitamin C and I did try Quercetin for about a week, but it upset my stomach.
The Cardiologist (based in Wellington) called me in April saying he couldn’t book me an appointment because he was currently overwhelmed with similar cases to mine (he sounded really frazzled), then said he was pretty sure my symptoms will resolve but told me not to exercise whilst I’m still experiencing tachycardia symptoms to reduce any risk of having a serious event. He said if my symptoms persisted for more than 6 months, to go back to my GP and get another referral. He discharged me thinking it would resolve.
I tried for a third time to get an exemption from the Booster with the new criteria changes, my doctor said, “it’s likely they’re not going to accept it, but I will support it” – I didn’t bother to pursue it further at that point, she’d also thought the mandates would be lifted by the time my Booster would be due in June. My mental health started going downhill about this time from the stress of it all and I was struggling to sleep. I look after such vulnerable people, and knowing I was going to leave them, and they’d have no-one to care for them really worried me. I’d said to the team leader of the co-ordinators “You’re letting me go but It doesn’t make any sense, how can I be ok to work today, and not ok tomorrow? – My clients are worried they aren’t going to have anyone”, I was just told “We don’t have anyone; we’re losing staff daily due to the mandates and we can’t do anything about it”.
I was being sent letters every two weeks from March about getting the Booster and providing proof – it felt relentless. Though the termination letter stated, “We’ve spoken with you recently and communicated with you frequently about your covid vaccine”, they’d not spoken to me at all. I was the very last of those who were still working who hadn’t had a Booster, as I’d taken my first shot late. My last letter on the 17th of June stated it was a ‘Mandatory vaccination order and termination of employment’ and stipulated evidence of Booster needed to be provided prior to 11:59pm on 17th of June 2022, or they would then deem me as not complying with the order and my last day of work would be the 18th of June. My roster was up at work for that last week where all the staff could see it and they’d put ‘No vaccine’ after the 18th of June. I requested for them to remove it as it was private information and threatened to contact my lawyer if it was not removed. They didn’t remove it, so I contacted my lawyer who sent them a letter and they promptly removed it. They paid me out 4 weeks’ pay on termination and am yet to receive my holiday pay.
I bumped into one of my elderly clients last week and she said she hadn’t had anyone come to her in over a month. Her bed linen had not been changed nor her floors washed in a month. My clients (and others) are suffering the consequences of this. I ended up going to help her as I care about her, it’s heartbreaking. I tried to support her to make a complaint, but she doesn’t want to burden anyone.
Prior to the vaccine my menstrual cycle was regular, and my period would usually be 4 days. After the vaccine I didn’t get a period for 4 months and have only had 2 since (March and May) with both lasting 7-10 days and were more painful and heavier than normal. My family and I have not had covid and I’ve been healthy otherwise. My heart symptoms are intermittent and come on usually after I’ve been doing more vigorous physical activity – I’ve still not gone back to exercising yet but have been doing some gardening lately (which I love), and if I do too much my symptoms pop up and I’ll notice them when resting/sitting still. I’m still really angry over everything, that it’s not my fault what’s happened to me and that my clients are suffering. I’m struggling with being positive but am making a conscious effort to be positive and move on as it’s out of my control. I’ve also started doing pottery at home (making pots for my plants, and for gifts) in the last couple of months – it’s something I can do where I don’t have to think and am finding it really therapeutic.