Kerstin Hartmann – AstraZeneca 20th January 2021

Date of First Adverse Reaction: 20th January 2021 Aged 54

I instantly got a bruise after the AstraZeneca injection and another one a few days later. The bruises took 2 months to clear and my arm hasn’t healed for 12 months now. I had a ‘funny’ heart episode a few weeks later where I couldn’t breathe for 15 minutes. I thought it was weird but didn’t think much of it as I was always very healthy. From that day on my life has changed. Over the coming months I developed more and more symptoms and my life came to a standstill.

• constant headache that feels as if my head is in an iron ring
• funny stiff neck feeling
• constant chest pain, the feeling as if I have an elephant sitting on my chest and I can’t breathe, the feeling as if I have to breathe against a resistance and sharp pain in the heart area that makes me stop and consciously draw a breath
• the feeling as if the body stops breathing and I need conscious effort to take the next breath
• the moment when I want to fall asleep, I stop breathing and then at one point I gasp for breath and my whole-body jerks, my heart starts racing
• pounding heart that is often so loud that it wakes me up at night, especially when I am laying on my left side
• high blood pressure, now with episodes where it drops down to what it used to be for a few minutes which is very disabling as my heart starts racing and I feel I don’t have the strength to do anything
• constant tiredness with episodes of fatigue where I am hardly able to do anything
• constant nausea to various degrees
• no appetite, I need to force myself to eat
• weight loss
• indigestion
• intolerances to certain foods, especially sugar, alcohol, caffeine
• increased thirst
• constant dizziness with periods of vertigo which are completely disabling
• constant pressure in my left ear
• random circular bruises, especially on the calves and underarms that appear out of nowhere and do not hurt
• painful bruises that happen after a sharp pain out of nowhere. Usually after a period of constant calf pain. Only on the left calf.
• deep vein pain, especially in the calves and back of my knees that make it difficult to walk
• strange rusty red coloured or very dark purple coloured protruding veins, especially on my wrists
• blurred vision
• abnormal adrenalin surges out of the blue, like a heightened state of anxiety
• changed perception as if the reality is collapsing around me
• not being able to concentrate or focus
• memory loss and confusion
• not knowing where my feet are, if they are on the floor or not which makes me feel unsteady on my feet and I lose my bearings
• hypersensitivity to smell
• hypersensitivity to sound/ noise
• hypersensitivity to light, it can be so overwhelming that I am not able to function at all in day light
• hypersensitivity to touch, tight clothes make me feel very uncomfortable and irritated
• burning sensations, especially in my feet and lower legs
• tingling sensations all over the body
• crawling sensations all over the body
• the feeling as if my whole body is vibrating inside
• random muscle twitching, mostly right shoulder, left bum and legs
• constant random pain in my body
• two fingers are numb on the hand of my injected arm
• constant pain in my injected arm and the feeling as if it is ten times heavier
• shoulder pain
• weakness in my injected arm
• shooting pain down my injected arm that makes my hand want to close
• weakness in my hand of my injected arm and not being able to grip properly
• an indentation and lump at the injection site which is still sore 12 month later
• a feeling as if my arms and hands want to shake, I often shake them and it gets better for a while
• hot flashes and excessive sweating
• cold chills
• night sweats
• bladder problems, the sensation as if I need to go to the toilet every time I get up from a chair

I phoned my surgery a couple of times because I was so fatigued, had constant chest pain and my arm didn’t heal. They ran the usual blood tests and said all is okay. I talked to them about the episode where I had difficulties breathing for 15 minutes and could only breathe when I bent forwards. The doctor said it is odd. No further investigation followed. In June I was finally seen after I had a row with the doctor on the phone and demanded to be seen in person. By then all my symptoms where so bad that I could hardly function at all. I got a diagnosis of Costochondritis and it was acknowledged that my arm got injured from the injection. I was told that the vertigo was BPPV. I was referred to physiotherapy.

The physio department told me she could either treat the vertigo or my arm. I decided to go private for my arm. She did Epley manoeuvre on me a few times only to conclude that it wasn’t BPPV and she didn’t know why I had the vertigo. I got visual exercises for the vertigo and was referred to ENT. She told me I should massage the lump on my arm.

I contacted the surgery via letter because of my constant chest pain, breathing problems and high blood pressure. I was referred to the acute chest pain clinic. The cardiologist ran an ECG and said my heart is okay. I asked him why I had this pain and couldn’t breathe and he said ‘people have all sorts of things’. That was in June, my first ECG after 4.5 months of chest pain. I was asked to record my blood pressure for 6 days twice and got a heart monitor in December for three days. I was told my heart rate is too fast sometimes and my heart might not get enough oxygen but the average numbers are okay. I was offered Beta blockers which I declined.

During the year I got a sick note for two weeks, three weeks and now two months. I was referred to the Long Covid Clinic in August because I asked for it but I haven’t heard from them. Neither from the ENT department. I was asked a few times if I am depressed which I declined. I said I was angry that there seems to be no help for people who got injured from the vaccine. I was asked if I am anxious and I asked them how they would feel if they couldn’t stand upright, couldn’t see properly, couldn’t breathe properly, had constant chest pain etc.. They told me I might have had panic attacks which I declined. I told them that my body is dysfunctional on so many levels and that this is the reason why I feel anxious sometimes.

I complaint to AstraZeneca that my doctors don’t seem to know how to help me and asked if they had advise. I was told to talk to my doctor. I complained to my surgery that I need proper investigation and treatment and got what you can read above. I reported my side effects to the Yellow Card.

I had great difficulties to get a medical exemption from further vaccination which I needed to keep my job. I finally got a medical exemption from my GP in November which was approved by the government in December.

A message to others about how this has impacted your life:
I am 54 and was very healthy and active, working two jobs before the jab. I took the jab to keep my job and now I am too ill to work. Everything I do is completely and utterly exhausting. My life is now dominated by my vaccine injury. I have to constantly pace myself so that I don’t flare up. I can’t sleep, eat, digest and breathe properly. I am in constant pain. My whole autonomic nervous system and my vascular system are not working properly.

There is no proper acknowledgement that the vaccine caused my symptoms, no proper investigation and no proper medical care. I am left alone to find out what could help me and have to spend thousands of pounds on alternative treatments.

We were told it is safe and effective but it was toxic for me. What is happening to us who got injured from the vaccine is wrong. Just to say it is safe doesn’t make it safe. We need to be acknowledged that the vaccine caused us harm, we need to be fully researched and get proper treatment. We need answers as to why we got so ill. We need interdisciplinary teams that deal with the complexity of our bodies reactions to the vaccine. We need care and compassion. This whole experience is utterly traumatic, very scary and makes me feel very alone with my pain and suffering.

Minehead, West Somerset, United Kingdom