My complications from the Pfizer vaccine

What a week it has been. On Friday 21st, I almost passed away. It all started two days after receiving my second Pfizer vaccine for the novel coronavirus.

I would like to preface this article by stating outright that I am in no way opposed to vaccination or the current vaccination efforts. Please get immunised.

For the absolute majority of people, the worldwide vaccination programme has been immensely successful in protecting people from the harmful effects of the pandemic and has dramatically reduced the death toll. Nevertheless, there are noted side effects – some quite severe, including those that almost sent me to meet my maker – and I am finding it immensely tiresome that so frequently any criticism or discussion of the coronavirus vaccine is immediately redirected to ad hominem arguments and accusations of being an anti-vaxxer.

Let me leave it at this: if you denounce the importance of vaccines in preventing illness, you’re probably stupid. If you think that they’re infallible and immune to critique or investigation due to the overall good they provide, then you’re probably also stupid.

What happened?

I’m certainly no stranger to vaccines. Back in February, I received my first dose of Pfizer to help protect myself from COVID-19, and in December of last year, I received a jab to protect myself against the flu. Both times, the side effects were pretty normal, the general lethargy and swollen arm at the site of injection. Nothing new. Sadly, this wasn’t to last.

On Wednesday 19th I received my second dose, and for the first two days, I felt generally fine, besides feeling a bit under the weather, symptoms of which I completely anticipated.

By Friday, I began to feel progressively unwell. It started with a fever and sharp headache at the top of my skull, followed quickly by a throbbing ache in my tailbone. The worst symptom of them all was a quickening heart rate, that at its peak became uncomfortable palpitations. A rabbit trapped in my chest.

After calling out for help and repeatedly vomiting into the toilet, my mother called for an ambulance. It wasn’t long before I lost consciousness and reportedly had a seizure, which was later was revealed to be due to hypoxia.

The paramedics arrived quickly, who were able to resuscitate me with interveinal fluids and oxygen. After I gradually came around, I travelled via ambulance to Queen Elizabeth Hospital in Birmingham. Unfortunately, I had another episode whilst in A&E, where my condition turned critical. I distinctively remember being surrounded by doctors, hyperventilating, and desperately trying to respond but just not being able to. I’m so lucky to have held on, and I narrowly avoided defibrillation.

After several days in intensive care, a week in the ward, and countless scans on my chest and vital organs, I made a recovery and I’m feeling 95% myself again. But what was the diagnosis? Well, it certainly puzzled the doctors and is a relatively new phenomenon.

Enter stage left: pericarditis

Pericarditis, or inflammation of the heart pericardium, a protective fluid sac, is often caused by infections and can be life-threatening. Read more about it here.

It will heal, and there isn’t any lasting damage that the doctors are aware of. Nevertheless, I’m currently awaiting some results from the cardiologists following an MRI scan, so I’ll know in more detail down the line if there’s anything I need to watch out for, or if I will need to be on any prolonged medication.

The shared consensus among medical professionals I spoke to agree that the timing of these events is too significant to ignore. The vaccination almost certainly caused my condition, though they had to rule out any viral infections.

Fascinatingly, the CDC is currently investigating reports into heart inflammation caused by second doses of the Pfizer vaccine (also Moderna), and how it affects predominantly young men. It seems that this incredibly rare event just happened to me. I could whine about how unlucky this is, but at this point, I’m just grateful to still be alive.

What happens now? What are your thoughts on the Pfizer vaccine?

I’m hopefully going back to work this week and I’m really glad to be home. I’m hoping to be writing some more articles on this blog like my recent post on my current role and returning to my software engineering roots.

As for the jab itself, well the chances of this are still astronomical even if you do fit the category. I still recommend getting it. I just hope going forward that more and more people and hospitals alike recognise the symptoms so that they can get help quickly.

Honestly, I think I just wanted to write this down. I’ve found the process therapeutic, and while some might think it unwise to share these details online, maybe someone might relate who’s gone through the same thing.

If you have any questions, do throw them in the comments and I’ll do my best to answer. Social media might be a better place for something like this, but I don’t currently use anything publically facing. Don’t get me started on how much I hate Twitter.

Until next time!