185 Cilla

Cilla (48 yrs)

Dose 1: Pfizer Comirnaty 24th September 2021
Dose 2: Pfizer Comirnaty 6th November 2021

I took the vaccine because my GP told me it was safe for me to receive it. I also wanted to be able to access libraries, pools, cafes, museums, and DOC huts, all which required vaccine passes.

Injury Details:

Since receiving the Pfizer COVID vaccine in September and November 2021 I have had three health issues: elevated blood pressure, intolerance to alcohol, and an increased tremor. The elevated blood pressure occurred after my first dose of the vaccine. As at May 2023, my blood pressure remains elevated. The intolerance to alcohol includes vomiting after drinking a single glass of champagne, and heart palpitations and shortness of breath lasting for two hours following drinking a single can of cider (1.3 standard drinks). The tremor was a very mild pre-existing condition I had for about six years prior to receiving the vaccine. However, in February and March 2023 the tremor suddenly worsened and was far more noticeable to me. I believe the worsening of my tremor was a neurological issue related to the vaccine, but that is my belief and this has not been diagnosed or proven by a doctor. My GP has referred me to two different neurologists four times about this, but all referrals have either been declined or ignored.

After my first dose of Pfizer in September 2021 I experienced a feeling of pressure on my chest. I saw my GP about my symptoms. She took my blood pressure and I had blood tests. My GP told me that all my indicators were normal, so I had the second dose. Two days after the second dose I experienced a sudden pounding heart at 7:00 a.m. while sitting down eating breakfast. This abnormal heartbeat continued until April 2022, where it reduced a little but did not completely go away. Since April 2022 I continue to feel pressure on my chest and my heart consistently feels that it is beating harder than it normally did pre-vaccine, especially with exertion.

Prior to vaccination the only heart problem I had ever had in my life was cardiac arrhythmia during pregnancy. I have never tested positive for COVID. I am a lifelong non-smoker and prior to receiving the vaccine I was an occasional alcohol drinker.

I had several appointments with my GP concerning my post-vaccination symptoms during 2021, 2022 and 2023. At all of these appointments up until March 2023 my GP told me that all of my indicators were within normal range and that I should wait and hopefully any symptoms should just fade away. My GP did not notice my elevated blood pressure until I looked up my records, and pointed it out to her, in March 2023. I have had low blood pressure my entire life. My last reading pre-vaccine was 95/70 (April 2021). Post vaccine, my blood pressure has been around 125/82.

At the March 2023 appointment, my GP agreed that I had a clear pattern of higher blood pressure post vaccination and that my systolic blood pressure had risen 20-30 points since prior to vaccine and my diastolic blood pressure had risen 10-12 points since prior to the vaccine. In terms of treatment, my GP said that the only potential treatment would be blood pressure lowering medication. I was very dismayed at the prospect of being on blood pressure lowering medication, conceivably, for the rest of my life.

I spoke to my GP about the possibility that my elevated blood pressure was a neurological problem, as I had seen news reports about Dr Kerryn Phelps in Australia who claimed she had vaccine-related dysautonomia which caused abnormal fluctuations in blood pressure following COVID vaccination. My GP kindly referred me to neurologists four times to investigate this and my other symptoms, but as mentioned above, repeated referrals to neurologists have all been either declined or ignored. My GP also referred me to a private cardiologist, who agreed to see me.

In March 2023, my GP submitted a vaccine adverse event report to CARM. She also encouraged me to submit my own vaccine adverse event report to CARM, which I did. As of May 2023, CARM has not followed up the adverse event reports and therefore in my case there does not seem to be close monitoring for adverse reactions in New Zealand. However, in contrast to my experience, I read in the New Zealand Herald in March 2022 that Otago University Immunologist and microbiologist Associate Professor James Ussher said the COVID-19 vaccine was one of the best-studied vaccines available. “Data from over a billion vaccines doses is available, with close monitoring for adverse reactions,” he said. “We can assure people that Pfizer vaccine is very safe.” Risk of allergic reaction or myocarditis was around one in 100,000, and he said there was no reported association with seizures or strokes. “Stroke and heart attacks have been associated with COVID infection, but not with the COVID vaccine.”

The private cardiologist found that apart from elevated blood pressure, my cardiac test results were all within normal range. The cardiologist agreed that my problem was likely a form of vaccine-induced dysautonomia, and that I was experiencing persistent sympathetic arousal causing persistently elevated blood pressure. The cardiologist could only offer me blood pressure-lowering medication but said that in preference to any medication I should seek alternative therapies such as acupuncture, meditation, and breathing exercises.

I am unable to claim my vaccine injury under ACC and I have had to bear significant personal expenses in seeking medical treatment. I have spent well over $2,000 on medical expenses. I began investigating alternative therapies in February 2023 and I continue to practice them. Acupuncture has been effective in stopping my tremor and I no longer have it.

My GP has recommended that I never take another COVID vaccine, and I certainly never will. I hope that my blood pressure will return to my pre-vaccine level one day. I am concerned about the lack of follow-up by CARM for my side effects.