I should start by saying that I am not anti-vaccination per se. I travel internationally for my job and over the last 30 years have had more inoculations than ‘hot dinners’. However, I did not want the COVID-19 vaccine as I do not trust it given the speed with which it was developed as well as having been fast-tracked through the approval process. Furthermore, there is no long term track record on its effects from a safety perspective.
Notwithstanding my concern, it became very clear to me that unless I succumbed to the vaccine I would no longer be able to do my job professionally which requires international travel and proof of double vaccination. For example, my current assignment for the Government of Antigua and Barbuda required proof of double vaccination prior to entry. In the absence of this, I would have had to quarantine in a government facility for fourteen days. This would be downtime and something which my company would most likely not be willing to pay for. It would also mean as a self-employed associate of the company I would not be earning fees for this period which would be a non-starter. Thus, in my case there was in effect no choice it was either get vaccinated or lose my livelihood.
I very, very reluctantly had the 1st Pfizer vaccination on 12 August 2021. Five days later, I experienced an adverse immune system response which I believe was linked directly to it. I suffered a scratchy and swollen throat, pimples on my soft palate, painful lumps on my tongue and cheeks, itchy back of my eyeballs and sore, raised welts all over my body. I now know these symptoms to be urticaria and angioedema.
I saw my doctor and she confirmed it was indeed most likely an adverse response to the mRNA vaccine technology with its instruction for the body to produce spike protein. I was immediately put on a high dose of steroids (something which I have never been prescribed in the whole of my life) and then transferred onto a strong prescription antihistamine (Fexofenadine).
Three months later the urticaria is still breaking through. Given it has gone beyond a six week peri it is now classed as Chronic Spontaneous Urticaria (CSU).
In light of my response to the Pfizer vaccine I was advised to have the AstraZeneca as a second shot. Again, reluctantly I did this on 5 October 2021 which has only exacerbated the problem.
My GP referred me to a dermatologist. They confirmed that I have indeed had an adverse immune system response to the vaccine. Consequently, they have onward referred me to an immunologist. I am awaiting a date for the consultation.
In the meantime, I have written to Pfizer UK about my condition. They responded with the standard patient information sheet which we are all given at the NHS vaccination centre. They completely did not answer my questions regarding this particular reaction to the vaccine or what can be done about it. According to the Pfizer patient information sheet my condition is classed as ‘severe’.
There has been no indication of how long this condition will last for. All the medics have said is that it should settle down in time. This may take a year or longer.
Serious physical discomfort including reoccurring angioedema lumps in my oesophagus which, to be frank, is scary. Repeated broken nights sleep due to irritation and soreness of the urticaria.
The physical effects of urticaria are distracting which makes it hard to concentrate on my job. There is much mental anxiety about what has been inflicted on my body and what the vaccine induced response might be doing more fundamentally to my vital organs perhaps due to the triggering of an autoimmune disease. This could be a possibility as there is as yet no long term data on the vaccine’s potential impact on vital organs.
Before this vaccine I was a perfectly healthy person rarely, if ever, ill. I am a fell runner and open water swimmer and have never had major health issues in my life. To be affected by a vaccine in such a way has therefore been highly distressing and a significant shock.