This is Shay's story:
“Today marks my 10th week off work and I'm not sure if or when I will be able to go back.
I received my first p at the end of September and the chest pains that started 3 days after my first shot still havent gone away.
It’s a feeling akin to someone standing on your chest from the moment you wake up to the moment you can't get to sleep and lay staring at the ceiling until 5 am each day either from the pain and discomfort or the stress.
Shortness of breath that makes even small tasks like walking down the stairs to get the mail a struggle and bouts of intense pain that make you question if you are actually having a heart attack.
I’ve had 9 visits to the Dr in the past 4 months, where I was lucky to go to the Dr once a year prior to that.
My Initial blood tests ecg and echocardiograms back at the end of September all came up clear. I had my second shot booked 4 weeks after the first and decided to get some medical advice beforehand.
The first follow up appointment with a GP when I asked about whether or not I should proceed with getting the second shot and asking about the possibility of my symptoms being related to the V I was told "You'll be right- you've obviously read up on myocarditis and pericarditis and I can assure you I've seen people with these conditions and you arent anywhere near sick enough to have either or them". A second opinion saw me cancel my second shot and go for further testing.
I spent my wedding anniversary in the emergency department where after nothing showing up on an ecg and no change in troponin levels they sent me home with some ibuprofen. It took 4 weeks From the onset of my symptoms to see a cardiologist for a stress echo and finally be diagnosed with pericarditis, and now all these weeks later after 2 seperate courses of treatment with colchicine and aspirin followed by 6 weeks of prednisone im still unable to live a normal life.
I am unable to do most things I used to take for granted. Any physical exertion leads to hours with a racing heartbeat, chest pain and fatigue.
I can't go out and walk my dogs, walk around shops or mow the lawn, even my one true passion in playing music with my band leads to extreme fatigue and feeling like I am going to pass out.
I spent Xmas day alone in self isolation due to being classed as high risk when the first outbreak of Omicron happened, every aspect of my life has been effected in some way by this, something that was meant to give us all back our freedom.
I dont know if I'm ever going to be able to return to my job- even if I was well enough- I'm still expected to get the second shot before I am even allowed back on site despite having a medical exemption. And like thousands of other people im going to be expected to roll the dice every few months and get booster shots to maintain my employment.
And no, I am not eligible for workers compensation, and I am also ineligible for any compensation from the Government Vaccine Injury Scheme due to not being admitted overnight in Hospital. I am currently utilising every bit of my personal leave and long service leave just to be able to pay the bills. Leave that should of been used for enjoying and experiencing life.
Nobody should ever have to choose between their health and their career.
A vast majority of people I know didn't choose to get the Vaccine to protect their health, they got it because they believed they would gain some freedom back, they wanted to travel or the needed it to keep their job. I've seen many good friends and colleagues lose their jobs over these mandates simply because they wanted to maintain their freedom of choice and were unwilling to take the risk of ending up in a similar or worse situation than myself.
The fact that booster shots are continuing to be pushed upon us by the government and our workplaces despite the overwhelming data suggesting that they are doing absolutely nothing to stop the spread of the virus, and claims that it will lessen symptoms and keep you out of hospital have also been brought into question with a large number of people hospitalised having 2 or more doses.
If you choose to get the booster because you feel like you need that protection or you believe it's something that is going to work for you, I support your choice but shouldn't I be afforded the same choice in saying if I want to run the risk of worsening my current health situation without losing my job over it? These adverse reactions are nowhere near as rare as most people are led to believe and the consequences are very real. I am lucky to have the support of my wife and a healthy bank of long service leave to keep my head above water but there are many others in my situation who are losing everything and are not eligible for any form of compensation.
I can only hope that eventually I start to regain my health and get some form of normal life back but after this many weeks with little to no improvement and Im not confident that will ever be the case. I can only hold hope for any of my friends who are FORCED into having any further shots dont end up with the same complications. I'm not sure how many times you can play russian roulette before it eventually catches up with you though.
Label me whatever you like but there should ALWAYS be a choice.”