True Story by Julie

Julie, Nurse, Mandated Out

My name is Julie, and this is my true story

My name is Julie, and I am a Mandated Health Worker with a 37yr nursing career.

I had worked through the first lockdown, and had been in the Isolation Ward.
Many of my colleagues requested not to work in this area for various personal reasons, but there was a group of us that rotated through,
but also worked in our own areas as well. (There was internal discussion about whether this policy increased a risk of Covid spread, but it didn’t change).
We were not inundated with patients, and with many things cancelled the hospital was pretty calm. But there was an air of waiting for pandemic numbers to hit. NZ borders were closed, MIQ was in operation. But the Covid admissions and presentation numbers didn’t escalate.
Then the Vaccines became available in New Zealand, and we went from recommended to Mandated. I was researching the data safety manufacturers sheets prior to the mandates. By 1st November, I could no longer find them through search engines. The Medsafe site had 8 month old information, and then the emergency use authorization for the Covid vaccine was extended for two further years. 
I emailed Medsafe, but they replied to say their information was not updated, but now they refer straight to the WHO site information. 
In 2019 I had experienced a flu vaccine reaction, (trunk and upper limbs rash, and exhaustion), and had reported this to CARM myself.
Never have I had any previous reactions to any vaccines, and I have had the annual flu shot as this was offered free through our workplace. 
So I was worried, I did not want this Covid vax, but I was one of the last take it in my area. So to keep my job, I had it in November prior to the mandate deadline.
My arm was a little sore, but within 24hrs the lymph nodes under my arm, and the outer aspect of my breast felt full, swollen and tender.
I had no rash, was tired, but tiredness was a normal for my shiftworker very busy job.
Day 15 post shot, I experienced tachycardia, chest pain and palpitations. I was at work, and did my own obs (BP, heart rate, oxygen sats). 
In the weeks that followed, these palpitations continued intermittently, and not related to exercise, or any other precipitating events. The swollen lymph persisted. I also noticed that small fresh cuts on my hands were not bleeding.
I saw my GP, but she could not help me with applying for an exemption. Instead offering to make an appointment for the second to be administered in the Emergency Department. I was deemed High Risk, and she said there is a group that travels to areas to administer the vaccine to people like me. She did not send me for ECG, or bloods or any further investigations. She did listen with a stethescope to ensure there was  no “rub”, a sign of pericarditis.
I registered my own Adverse Event on CARM, a time consuming process- logged in as a health professional, the site kicked me off three times, and if the drug name was not spelled correctly it would not allow the forms to be accessed. It seems that a busy health professional would find the time required a real barrier. Also CARM adverse reporting is not a requirement for the Covid vaccine, nor do people realise they can register their own events. Or those of their loved ones.
Rather than take the second mandated shot I resigned. I did not have the emotional bandwidth to go through the hospital process of refusing the mandates, and the pathway of interviews and procedures the hospital had in place. There was short discussion with the manager of my area, (and in a public space) but she backed away from  applying pressure. I therefore finished my career January 1st 2022.

I have had much help with finding ways to improve my health, and taken steps to manage my symptoms.

Thank you for reading, and please realise that we are not alone.

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