1 I am making this affidavit/affirmation to record important information about my adverse reaction after receiving the Pfizer Covid 19 Vaccine (“the vaccine”)
2 Prior to receiving the first dose of the vaccine I had looked after my health and I have learned how to keep myself well over many years using complementary health support, natural remedies, integrated therapies and diet, since being diagnosed with ME/CFS in 1986
3 I received a COVID Pfizer Vaccine (“the vaccine”) on Friday, 28 May at my local Health Centre on Great Barrier Island.
4 The day I went to the Health Centre to receive the first dose of the vaccine it was very busy with the vaccine role out. I was only given the standard Government information in a printed handout about the vaccine containing a handful of possible mild risks and side effects which may occur afterwards. As a local patient of many years. I don’t remember being asked if I had any pre-existing conditions or ensured that I truly understood the type of vaccine used and the possible side effects and risks to myself.
5 For two to three days after receiving my vaccine, I had a little bit of a sore arm but this went away. About a week later, I started feeling unwell as if I was coming down with the flu. My head felt heavy, and as I would normally do for a headache, I took Panadol Extra. My brain felt increasingly foggy over the next few days. On Tuesday, 8 June 2021, I did not feel at all well in the morning and had trouble concentrating. That morning I was co-teaching a Zoom class online for 2.5 hours and I noticed I was having to focus really hard to keep things together. Just over an hour into the call, I lost awareness of what I was supposed to be doing and where I was up to in the schedule despite having clearly written notes to follow. None of these made any sense at the time.
6 My trainer colleague based in the United States of America (“my colleague”) then took over for the rest of the online session. She stayed online with me while she coached me to make the call for medical help. She was very concerned and thought perhaps I was having a stroke or something similar, as I had already mentioned to her the day before that I was not feeling well and that I thought I was having a reaction to the vaccine. Under my colleague’s direction, I apparently rang our local Medical Centre three times before help arrived. This took about 3 hours, at around 3 or 3.30pm, nursing help arrived as I hadn’t called the emergency 111 phone number because I had no idea what I was doing at the time. My colleague had remained online with me the whole time until the nurse arrived. I am told I was lucid, but very confused and I kept repeating the same questions over and over. Also I do remember my pulse was racing. The nurse then drove me to our local Medical Centre. My blood pressure was taken and it was apparently erratic and went very high (200 over 165 at one point). I was evacuated by Westpac helicopter to Auckland Hospital at around 4.30pm that afternoon.
7 While in the Emergency Department at the hospital, I was sent for various tests, ECG’s, CT scan, blood tests etc and my blood pressure was monitored for many hours. I was given medication through a lure in my right arm to lower my high blood pressure and for an ensuing migraine headache later that day. My blood pressure continued to be monitored regularly and I was kept in hospital overnight for observation, then released the following morning.
8 My memory of the days preceding the event and my capacity to function in a limited way slowly started to return from around 8.45pm that day, but the rest of the day remains a total mystery to me. I knew who I was and where I was, but I lost all sense of time day or date. I have no recollection of any of this period of time other than a handful of very fleeting images. It felt like I was in a deep dream state.
9 I spoke to the neurologist on duty as I was recovering some lucidity, who told me that all my tests were clear, and they believed I had an unexplained Transient Global Amnesia (“TGA”) episode. I requested that she record on my notes that I was querying an adverse reaction to the Pfizer vaccine as I had not felt well the previous few days post vax, and for many years I have had a history of immune issues and therefore a sensitive nervous system. I never had a response from CARM, so on request my GP ascertained Auckland Hospital did actually log my injury with CARM as a TGA episode on 13 June, along with my own personal logged report with CARM on 15 June.
10 Initially after I started to feel a little stronger, about a couple of weeks after the initial TGA attack, I had the interesting experience of being able to watch myself literally ‘loose it’ online through watching the recording of my Zoom online session on the morning of 8 June. I am still amazed, given the circumstances, that I was able to hold things together as well as I did, and for as long as I did. It is now more obvious to me how confused I must have been feeling at the time. Seeing the replay was very enlightening as it helped me to piece together the event and remember a few more flashes of moments and images of the actual day itself.
11 I have a medical history of ME and Chronic Fatigue Syndrome, diagnosed in 1986. This progressed into Fibromyalgia and migraine headaches in the 1990’s. The migraine headaches subsided considerably over time post-menopause, but they occasionally reoccurred approx. x1 every 3 weeks. I also received a diagnosis of Post-Lyme disease from a blood test in the United Kingdom in July 2019. This helped me to make sense of my CFS symptoms which often presented a confusing picture, as so many of my previous tests and blood tests were ‘normal’. Despite these diagnoses, I have learnt how to manage, pace and look after myself very well over the years. This enabled me to live a relatively normal life, as long as I paced myself accordingly.
12 At the time this vaccine injury happened, I was feeling very well and healthy, and had been for several months. I was re-assured that the vaccine was safe by the brochure I was handed at the Medical Centre and was never questioned about my pre-existing health conditions. Had there been more accurate information available, I would never have made the decision to take this vaccine because of the likely risk for myself. Likewise if I had not been feeling so well, I would have either waited to receive the vaccine – although I was informed by the head nurse this was the only opportunity offered locally – or I would have re-assessed my situation and personal health needs at a later date. Since the week after this Pfizer vaccination, my body has been thrown into an extremely vulnerable, highly sensitive and unstable state. I have been consistently experiencing the worst health of my life, far worse even than when I was under a lot of physical and emotional stress for years after a difficult marriage breakup over 20 years ago and being a solo Mother to my x 3 children. I have successfully worked hard to manage this stress related ME well and prevent my health from deteriorating over the years. largely through nutritional support, rest and relaxation practices and through continuous pacing and management of daily and weekly activities as needed depending on my energy levels.
13 For many days directly after the TGA episode, I felt very confused and was unable to remember much going back several days before this episode, but I was able to start piecing things together by talking with those who were involved with me at this time. I still feel as if my head is in a box and disconnected from my body and headaches have increased in frequency. For several months I felt as if I had a tight band around my head and my eyes and my vision were strange. I am still severely fatigued, have great difficulty thinking straight and I have marked brain fog every day. This vaccine provoked event has thrown my whole body into what feels like an ongoing crisis response or some kind of PTSD.
14 My nervous system is on overload, I am highly sensitive to lights, noise sudden movements, and busy eenvironments including social situations, shopping malls etc. I frequently feel shaky and vulnerable and the slightest thing can throw my body into a spontaneous reaction of some kind. I had a few visits to our local Medical Centre, Aotea Health over the last 2 years, as I have been experiencing heart palpitations that come and go out of nowhere. Also my blood pressure has been consistently and markedly higher than it ever was in my pre-vaccine life. I now have a regular 3 month check in with my GP at his suggestion. I am keeping him informed of my research into Long Covid, Vaccine injury and ME related issues and research as this emerges because they are not informed by the Ministry of Health.
15 After a few weeks rest and initial recovery, I was able to resume light work duties online with the support of my team members, until November 2021 when my health took another dive. In September 2021 my local GP lodged another CARM report as my symptoms had increased and got a lot worse. In mid – October 2021, about 4.5 months after receiving the vaccine, I received a new diagnosis of Mast Cell Activation Syndrome from another specialist Dr. who I then worked with for several months following.
Around this time several new symptoms started to appear, which include severe reactions to drug therapies given to alleviate underlying inflammatory markers. I got very sick and was unable to look after myself, or even hold a conversation without confusion and severe brain and body fatigue kicking in, and I was looked after by friends. I took a longer break from online work commitments for around 4 months, in the hope that I would slowly recover and get myself well again, but this has not been the case yet.
16 My overall health and wellbeing continued to decline as these many varied symptoms increasingly grew more debilitating over the next few months, particualrly the extreme fatigue and more frequent migraine headaches which I started experiencing once or twice a week and often lasted for two days at a time. Since the vaccine incident, I now have continual chronic brain and body fatigue, the severity of which I have never experienced before, along with a raft of many new neurological symptoms. Add to this my pre-existing ME/Fibromyalgia symptoms of body pain and muscle inflammation which have noticeably increased as well as exacerbation in both short and long term memory loss.
17 Several new neurological and Central Nervous System (CNS) symptoms also emerged and continue to present over the last 24 months. Along with the chronic brain fog – they include: frequent temperature fluctuations and heart palpitations, difficulty getting enough oxygen to my brain including an inability to yawn fully, difficulty focusing, absorbing, processing and remembering any information, loss of smell, a very unpleasant taste in my mouth – making eating difficult at times, severe weight loss and multiple food sensitivities.
18 Most concerning to me on top of the brain and body fatigue, are some challenging mobility issues accompanied by debilitating sensations similar to vertigo. I feel as if I am very drunk or living on a rocky boat, so experience the sensations of constant swaying and dizziness whether sitting or standing, and this is noticeably worse with standing and motion or movement of any kind. Occasionally my legs collapse and I trip and have stumbled when walking and standing still for any length of time – this is greatly exacerbated when I get progressively tired through the day and presents from late morning onwards. However the stumbling issue is less of an issue now than it was a year ago. I also have great difficulty relaxing during the day and sleeping at night without specific supplement and nutritional support. My nights are often restless. I have trouble resting/relaxing as my heart races and I experience pulsation in my upper body and head for up to 20 minutes the minute I lie down to relax. Some of these symptoms come and go, but many are present all the time, so I have bad, not so good and better days – but no ‘good’ or symptom-free days. These last 2 years have been increasingly challenging to get through as the symptoms are so exhausting to live with 24/7.
19 In November 2021 I requested a medical exemption from further vaccination. This was a very stressful time as I was rejected without consultation by 4 different specialists at ADHB, despite being clearly eligible for consideration with my previous CFS/ME history – a condition that was specifically mentioned on the Ministry of Health vaccine exemption application form as being contraindicated. However due to the persistence of my local GP, I was finally recommended for temporary exemption by a specialist in Infectious Diseases who recognized imminent vaccination with any vaccine was a risk given my recent as well as my past medical history. I finally received a 3 month temporary exemption from the Minister of Health on December 22nd 2021. This really shocked and upset me because I was still expected to have another vaccine in mid-March yet I was still very unwell, and it felt callous, cruel and uncaring.
20 Currently, I am unable to do any physical work other than very basic household chores like shopping, cooking, washing dishes, a little wiping of surfaces, folding washing and simple tidying. I cannot make a bed without feeling fatigued and every moment I do any physical activity the vertigo like symptoms kick in and fatigue ensues even after only a couple of minutes, mild activity. So all these activities are still challenging for me as my ‘vertigo’ and fatigue symptoms are activated by any movement and by standing. I had a period of time where I was unable to even cook or shop for myself and I had to completely rely on my friends to look after and support me at that time. I have to attempt all tasks at a snail’s pace and with my full focus to achieve them and it is mentally and physically exhausting. After over a year of trying to cope alone and focusing almost solely on rest and recovery, oin mid 2022 I finally received some much needed basic home-help support through our local Medical Centre and a detailed one hour interview/assessment from a support agency in Auckland. I now receive 2 hours basic home help a week, however there’s no funded support or help available with the gardening, general maintenance or bigger cleaning jobs – and I live alone.
21 ACC declined my application for support in October 2021 at a time that I was extremely ill and struggling to cope with daily life or activity of any kind. I really needed help and support. Some privately funded homeopathic, nutritional interventions and hands on therapies including acupuncture. massage and regular osteopathy treatments in the last year are helping with the brain fog, sleep issues and mobility issues, although any improvements are slow and microscopic. I still feel very vulnerable and am also unstable especially when tired. I was referred to see a neurologist at ADHB in mid-March 2022, and had an assessment on September 1st 2022, which accepted my symptoms as likely to be a reaction to the vaccine. I then had a referral for an MRI scan which was clear, and also a referral for assessment and ongoing rehabilitation program with a physiotherapist at ADHB in October 2022. After the initial assessment, the physiotherapist began an intervention program with me which he then discharged me from about 6 weeks later as I was physically unable to sustain the mild exercises he offered, let alone increase them.
22 I have recently had an assessment with a Cardiologist at ADHB, who was concerned about the High BP(177/126) I exhibited on the day. Pre-vaccine I always had low to average BP. The cardiologist recommended BP medication and a referral to be fitted with a 24r hr Holter monitoring device. This took place on Monday May8th 2023 and the results have not come through yet.
23 I am fully self-employed and run a home-based Nature Therapy guiding business, as well as contracting as a trainer to an international organization – The Association of Nature and Forest Therapy Guides (ANFT) – based in the USA. As a result of my injuries, I have had to put all my other business plans on hold for the last 2 years as I have been incapable of attending to anything other than my contractual obligations with ANFT. This has been extremely challenging as the bulk of my work is online and therefor requires concentration, cognitive and processing skills – all of which have been severely compromised since this adverse vaccine incident .My work as a Nature Therapy guide and mentor is extremely important to me and really helps my physical, mental and emotional wellbeing, so I persist with it when I am well enough, albeit in a much reduced capacity. I believe I can only do this because of the supplemental therapies and protocols I am taking everyday, otherwise I’ld probably be mostly couch-bound
24 In 2021, I received some sponsored professional advice through Auckland Tourism to develop and promote my business, planning to take this practice into the Corporate Health and Wellness sector. I also had plans to develop my own guiding practice locally and grow my online mentoring practice through both our local Tourist agencies, my own website and my extensive network of guide trainees. However, I have not been able to pursue any of these plans because of the fatigue, headaches, brain fog and other neurological issues I am experiencing. At the moment all business plans remain on hold until such a time as I am well enough again. I am only able to focus on fulfilling my existing contracts with ANFT and keep myself engaged with my work through the trainings I am currently involved in. Our ANFT training team are supporting me to do this, however, the remuneration I receive is nowhere near enough to cover my living costs, let alone meet the costs of the ongoing treatment protocols and specialist nutritional support. I now need these daily to keep myself relatively physically stable and able to function from day to day. The financial situation as a result of this is causing me a lot of extra stress as the situation is now really impacting on both my business and personal life.
25 Returning to my declined ACC claim issue – I lodged an ACC claim for a treatment injury with my local GP in July 2021. My GP followed up by requesting advice through her network of professional colleagues on negative vaccine reactions and CFS/ME. She established that these neurological and extreme fatigue symptoms – many of which are also now accepted as related to the spike protein and are very similar to ‘Long Covid’ symptoms – are a recognized and known direct side effect of vaccine injury. They present as a post vaccine treatment injury in a high percentage of patients who have a history with CFS/Fibromyalgia type neuro-immune disorders (approx. 1:5). Unfortunately, my ACC claim was declined in October 2021 on the basis of my previous CFS/ME medical history. At the time of the ACC decline I was far too unwell to lodge an appeal and fight my cause. It is remains too mentally emotionally and physically stressful and difficult to pursue personally without advocacy as I need to reserve my strength to cope with each day. Despite continually emerging global evidence and research proving neurological and nervous system injuries as a result of mRNA vaccines, my symptoms and disabilities were not recognized as a physical treatment injury at that time. This needs to be addressed as it is clear from my medical reports that this injury has created new and severe chronic health issues since early June 2021.
26 I would also like to mention some of the emotional impacts that have resulted from my vaccine injury. One of the most distressing factors provoking a decline has been the non-validation, dismissiveness and refusal of public acknowledgement from all mainstream media, along with having to fight for any recognition from the government and Ministry of Health. It is as if we have been silently accepted as ‘collateral damage’ and the feeling is that we should just go away and hide ourselves so that the Ministry of Health can get on with its job of protecting everyone else. As far as vaccine exemptions go, it was extremely challenging to fight for a ‘temporary’ vaccine exemption when I was already very sick and in a state of constant exhaustion and brain fog. I am still incredulous and angry about this inadequate and ineffective process, and am outraged by the number of seriously damaged clients and sick people who were turned down for exemption, when everyone who requested this for valid health reasons should have received an automatic and permanent exemption.
27 I am living on a constant roller coaster ride of grief for loss of the health and wellbeing I had, and one that I personally worked hard to maintain and protect over the years; I feel anger at the dismissal, ridicule and non- acceptance in public forums of our injuries; sadness at the way myself and so many others have been neglected and mis-managed; frustration at the closed ears from those who should be taking care of us; sickened to my heart by the constant messaging we have been hearing daily for months on end of ‘Safe and Effective’, when for myself and so many others it clearly was not; worrying constantly about my financial state as I struggle to pay my ongoing healthcare bills without any support; despair at the thought that this cycle of severe health issues does not seem to have an end in sight; and incredulity that at a time of crisis like this we have been totally ignored and unsupported by a government who offered us all a vision of kindness and compassion. We have not only been ignored and ridiculed, we have been treated appallingly badly in many cases and have had to fight for survival, and to get our stories heard by those who have a duty of care and responsibility to support our physical and mental health and wellbeing.
28 This experience has provoked a negative impact on my mental health. I am pretty resilient and have always been very robust mentally, however I have been facing this situation head on every single moment of every day I wake up since June 2021. Depression is not a familiar state for me, but since the vaccine rollout I have been dealing with this on a regular basis, and there have been no official channels of support for us. We still remain publicly unacknowledged – no government agency has recognized or offered support for what has happened to so many of us. My personal depression over the last 2 years came from not being able to see a way out of my body’s state of exhaustion and depletion, with a total lack of supported specialist care, or medical knowledge and effective treatment protocols available in NZ. I daily practice all the self-care methods I can such as meditation, frequent resting, planning and carefully pacing all activities which include breathing fresh air and gentle walks in nature, and eating as well as I can given my limiting dietary restrictions. I keep myself mentally upbeat as much as possible by a daily regime of personal interventions and self-care practices.
29 I also now have an extensive wellness support team around me, however most of this I have had to research and put in place and finance myself – and it is expensive to maintain. I resumed light online work duties again in April 2022, with careful planning, including practicing good ongoing self-care, resting daily and using supporting natural medicines and therapies, and taking headache medication as required for pain so I can function during the day. I am now keeping my head above water on some, but not all days.
30 I request a full unbiased enquiry into and recognition and validation of my vaccine treatment injuries. This has been verified as the likely cause of my health crisis by every single Dr I have spoken to over the last almost 2 years. Despite these assessments over the last few months by various ADHB departments, I am concerned that I have fallen into the gaps in the ACC system. I am forced into a situation where most of my low income is currently spent on my healthcare and the ongoing treatments I now need to sustain myself on a daily level. This has been a very difficult time for me especially as ACC refused to acknowledge and accept my severe adverse reaction and my declining health and wellbeing as a medical treatment injury because of my previous medical history, despite the evidence that has emerged and is readily available now of causal links from the spike protein and the mRNA vaccines and ME type symptoms. ME/CFS was even mentioned on the Vaccine exemption forms- yet still ACC refuses to recognize this as an injury. There is something wrong here .
31 I request a thorough unbiased investigation from the New Zealand Government, with compensation made available as this is a big hole in the current ACC system. Many of us with a medical history who have been severely impacted by the Pfizer vaccine have literally fallen into a system of financial neglect. Most of my treatment protocols are private and costly, as I cannot be effectively supported by available medical care and the very limited range of tests that are currently offered in NZ. Treatment intervention and testing programs are being successfully offered in many other countries for vaccine injuries and LC type symptoms and the research is extensive now. I request this financial help towards personal ongoing costs so I can continue to pay the expenses for my treatment plan, see specialist doctors and functional medicine/health care professionals, access the other supporting nutritional and treatment protocols that work for me, and get the help I need to function on a daily basis and hopefully towards making a reasonable recovery in time. I am making very slow progress, but the steps are tiny and incremental over a long time period. I do not wish to be a burden on anyone least of all my family and I wish to continue to be of service to my work and to my community. This is what is important to me.
32 I wish to acknowledge here that my local Health Centre team have been as kind, caring, available and supportive as they can be in circumstances, however they admit they are not experts. Since this adverse reaction I have had several visits to my local GP and clinic, but they were of little practical help without the specialist knowledge required, and I have done most of the research myself .They have been too busy to check in to see how I was doing in between visits, which added to my sense of isolation and being left to get on by myself for so many months. However I was finally allocated and a mental health coach in May 2022, which has been very helpful as I now have someone I can personally relate to and liaise with my local Medical Centre when I need any extra support, I am grateful for this service.
33 I have decided to take a stand on this vaccine adverse event issue not only for myself, but on behalf of all those other vaccine injured people whose many voices have been silenced and ignored. Many do not have the inner and outer resources and confidence to stand up for themselves. However personally I have reached my limit in terms of my capacity to fight for justice and recognition as my priority now is to focus fully on my own self-care to get well again and let others take a stand on our behalf. I need all my strength for recovery rather than for fighting injustice and the right to live as normal a life as possible in the circumstances with the support that is due. I understand that the Australian govt has offered compensation for vaccine related injuries, and there has been recent discussion in the British parliament too. Surely it is now time for the NZ govt to follow – if ACC does not support those of us with pre-existing medical conditions that are now known to be contraindications for vaccination, where else can we go for help?
Thank you for taking the time to read and acknowledge this report – every word of this has been my lived experience over the last 2 years
Vicky K May 16th 2023