I personally had no noticeable effects from my two AstraZeneca injections, so the reports below are a little surprising to me. They do however reinforce my view that vaccine side-effect are frequent enough and serious enough for rational people to avoid them. That being so, mandating exposure to them is abhorrent and Fascistic — JR
Dr. Danice Hertz remembers vividly the day she got a COVID-19 vaccine. Hertz, a retired gastroenterologist, received Pfizer’s shot on Dec. 23, 2020, less than two weeks after U.S. regulators granted it emergency use authorization.
Thirty minutes went by before an adverse reaction started. “My face started burning and tingling and my eyes got blurry,” Hertz told The Epoch Times. She also felt faint.
Her husband called paramedics, who came and found Hertz’s blood pressure was sky-high. They recommended she call a doctor.
Hertz became so sick she feared she would die. She experienced symptoms including severe facial pain, chest constriction, tremors, twitching limbs, and tinnitus. “I felt like someone was pouring acid on me,” Hertz, of Los Angeles, California, said.
Hertz survived but still suffers. She has been to numerous specialists. Multiple experts found indications the vaccine triggered the reaction, according to medical records reviewed by The Epoch Times.
Hertz is one of millions of Americans who chose to get one of the COVID-19 vaccines soon after the government cleared them.
Since then, hundreds of millions of doses have been administered. Many recipients have been fine, if less protected than they were initially promised. But a growing number have endured severe reactions and have struggled to obtain treatments for their ailments.
Brianne Dressen suffered so badly after getting AstraZeneca’s COVID-19 vaccine on Nov. 4, 2020, that she would often sit in silence in a room in complete darkness.
“My little girl, she sings all the time. And I couldn’t have her around me at all because sound was so unbearable. And my little boy, my skin was sensitive, so anything that touched my skin was painful, so my little boy, he’d come and try to comfort me and hold my hand, and even that was painful. My teeth were too sensitive; I couldn’t brush my teeth. So it’s like all of my sensory facets just overloaded,” Dressen, a preschool teacher who lives in Saratoga Springs, Utah, told The Epoch Times.
“It was the worst experience of my life.”
Reactions to COVID-19 vaccines often happen soon after administration—one of the reasons health care providers are told to monitor patients for at least 15 minutes after a dose is given.
For most recipients, problems are small, like a headache, and soon go away. For others, the pain has still not subsided.
“Right now, all I do is work. That’s all I can do,” Erin Sullivan, a speech pathologist in Connecticut who received Moderna’s jab on Jan. 6, 2021, told The Epoch Times. “Everyone around me, like family, are doing everything else. I’m not cooking, I’m not cleaning, I’m not doing laundry. I’m not taking the kids anywhere. I basically work and then I go to bed.”
Sullivan, who later got a second dose of Pfizer’s jab on the recommendation of an immunologist, has suffered from tingling in her limbs, severe fatigue, and other symptoms for over a year.
Sullivan was diagnosed with an adverse reaction to the vaccine, according to medical records reviewed by The Epoch Times. She “never had similar symptoms prior to COVID-19 vaccination,” one doctor wrote.
Dressen has dealt with incontinence, limb weakness, and nausea, among other symptoms.
“My reaction started within an hour. Ended up with pins and needles down my arm, had double vision that night, sensitivity that night. And over the next 2 1/2 weeks, my symptoms progressed to the point where I had extreme tachycardia, blood pressure fluctuations, temperature fluctuations. My sound sensitivity and light sensitivity became so severe I had to be confined to my bedroom 24/7,” Dressen said.
Dressen was diagnosed by a doctor at the National Institutes of Health (NIH) with post-vaccine neuropathy, or nerve damage, according to medical records reviewed by The Epoch Times. Dressen was showing “persistent neurological symptoms following SARS-CoV-2 vaccine,” one note penned by an NIH doctor said.
Maddie de Garay’s life was thrown into turmoil after receiving her second Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine shot on Jan. 20, 2021. The litany of issues included paresthesia, back pain, and abdominal pain.
“My back hurt, my stomach hurt, my head hurt. I had a fever of like 101-something,” Maddie, 13, told The Epoch Times. “My toes were numb and they were ice cold and they were white, and same for my fingertips.”
The girl’s symptoms have persisted. She uses a wheelchair because it’s become impossible to walk. She’s lost feeling in the lower half of her body. Other parts often aggrieve her.
In a visit to Cincinnati Children’s Hospital, one of the Pfizer trial sites, the day after the vaccination, Maddie was diagnosed with “adverse effect of vaccine,” according to medical records reviewed by The Epoch Times. The following month, another doctor wrote that Maddie was suffering from “many prolonged and significant post COVID vaccine symptoms.”
But references to the vaccine began to disappear in later visits, and Dr. Robert Frenck, the principal investigator for Pfizer’s trials at the hospital, told Maddie’s parents in a phone call in May 2021 that “the doctors that have seen her so far have not found something where they thought it was research-related, is what they all were telling me.”
“One of the first ones says, it was related to the vaccine trial,” Patrick de Garay, Maddie’s father, responded.
All the doctors who treated patients in this story declined to speak to The Epoch Times, did not respond to inquiries, or could not be reached.
Many of the vaccine-injured experience improvement at one time or another, but some who spoke to The Epoch Times described regular relapses.
Hertz reported an improvement in late 2021, which she attributed primarily to time passing since receiving the vaccine. “Unfortunately, I have taken a turn for the worse a month or two ago,” she told The Epoch Times via email on Feb. 17.
Hertz was diagnosed with “presumed post COVID reaction” in early 2021, according to medical records. After visiting other specialists, she eventually received a diagnosis of mast cell activation syndrome triggered by the vaccine. Symptoms of the syndrome include trouble breathing and low blood pressure.
Among the First
Dressen and Maddie both participated in vaccine clinical trials. Like them, other vaccine-injured were among the first to get one of the shots.
On Dec. 11, 2020, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) granted emergency use authorization to the vaccine from Pfizer and BioNTech. A week later, the agency cleared Moderna’s jab.
The authorization letters acknowledged the vaccines were “investigational” but said reviews of clinical trials identified no safety concerns and pointed to it being “reasonable to believe” that the vaccines “may be effective” to prevent infection from the virus that causes COVID-19.
Hope soared that the vaccines would be the tool to crush the CCP virus. Herd immunity was the goal, with vaccine-conferred immunity the primary piece, according to top U.S. officials like Dr. Anthony Fauci.
Early adopters thought getting vaccinated would contribute to ending the COVID-19 pandemic. Many had family members who, due to underlying medical conditions or age, were among the most vulnerable to COVID-19. Some were high-risk themselves.
“I had lost really close loved ones to COVID, and this was my saving grace to help contribute to ending this pandemic,” Angelia Desselle told The Epoch Times.
Desselle received Pfizer’s vaccine on Jan. 5, 2021. As manager of an outpatient surgery center in Louisiana, she stayed on top of updates regarding the vaccines, including declarations by health authorities that they were both safe and effective. She trusted them. She went to get vaccinated during her lunch break.
Other people who got the vaccine early also put their faith in the U.S. government, vaccine makers, and the health care community.
Hertz, a longtime doctor, jumped on an early opportunity to get vaccinated. Though she had recently retired, she thought she might need to go back to work in the future. And, she says, she “completely trusted our system and believed the FDA was honest and decent.”
Andrea Rositas was in a medical program when she got Moderna’s vaccine on Jan. 31, 2021, at Southwestern College, a community college in Chula Vista, California.
Nurses ahead of her in the program said Rositas should get vaccinated. They said it was safe.
Stephanie de Garay told The Epoch Times that she believed that if anything went wrong, trial participants would “be in the best hands.”
“If you’re going to have anything happen, the best time would be in a trial, because they would do everything they could to get you better, and to figure out why. Because that’s the whole point of a trial,” she said. “That’s not what happened.”
Epoch Times Photo
In this combination photograph, Erin Sullivan is seen before and after getting a COVID-19 vaccine. (Courtesy of Erin Sullivan)
A dose of the Moderna COVID-19 vaccine is prepared in Orange, Calif., in a file image. (John Fredricks/The Epoch Times)
Dressen said she enrolled in the AstraZeneca trial because “I trusted what the doctors said, and I wanted this pandemic to be over.”
“And the way that it was presented to the world was, ‘This vaccine’s going to end the pandemic.’ I mean, my kids are stuck at home, they can’t leave, we’re wearing masks. I work in a school. I see how it’s affecting elementary-aged kids,” she said. “I trusted the government and I trusted the doctors. I don’t anymore.”
The vaccine-injured have repeatedly contacted federal officials and the vaccine companies about their afflictions. They feel neither the government nor the companies have done enough to address vaccine injuries.
AstraZeneca, Pfizer, Johnson & Johnson, and Moderna did not respond to requests for comment for this article.
Some government researchers have suggested in emails reviewed by The Epoch Times that they think vaccines caused the side effects, in addition to the diagnosis of Dressen by NIH doctors.
A spokesperson for the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke, part of the NIH, told The Epoch Times via email that data from a study that featured NIH scientists examining some of the people with problems following vaccination yielded “no data showing the vaccines caused the symptoms in these patients.”
Government reviews of surveillance systems have identified health problems “potentially associated” with the COVID-19 vaccines, including the neurological disorder called Guillain Barré syndrome (GBS), an FDA spokeswoman told The Epoch Times in an email. “Decisions on whether there is some basis to believe there is a causal relationship are a matter of medical and scientific judgment and are based on factors such as: the frequency of reporting, biological plausibility, the timing of the event relative to the time of vaccination, and whether the adverse event is known to be caused by related vaccines,” she added.
A spokeswoman for the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) told The Epoch Times in an email, “To date, CDC has detected no unusual or unexpected patterns of miscarriages, cancer, or neurological conditions following immunization that would indicate COVID-19 vaccines are causing or contributing to these conditions. CDC continues to recommend that everyone who is eligible should get vaccinated.”
Later, the spokeswoman said she forgot about GBS. Based on data from Vaccine Adverse Event Reporting System, a U.S. passive reporting system, the rate of GBS was found within the 21 days following Johnson & Johnson vaccination to be 21 times higher than among Pfizer or Moderna recipients. Analysis of the data “found no increased risk of GBS after Pfizer-BioNTech or Moderna” she said.
As of Feb. 11, more reports of GBS were made to VAERS following Moderna or Pfizer vaccination than Johnson & Johnson vaccination, an Epoch Times review found. At the same time, many more shots of the former vaccines have been administered in the United States.
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