Three months ago, 50-year-old Rozanne de Wild was a highly functioning business woman, running the office admin, marketing and accounts part-time for her friend’s business, while also organising a major annual event.
But after receiving her first Pfizer shot on August 27 at a Life Pharmacy pop-up clinic, she began experiencing side effects almost immediately.
“Like many I had the normal sore stiff arm that evening and the following day,” says Rozanne.
“I did, however, experience a feeling of tingling burn or pins and needles running down through my left leg and foot during the 15 minute observation time but didn’t think nothing more of it as it passed and they didn’t seem concerned about it.”
Over the following weeks, Rozanne experienced symptoms that she says are akin to having had concussion or a head injury.
“Head pains, acute hypersensitivity to low and high frequency sounds, vision issues, brain fog, loss of mental clarity.”
She also struggled to put words together, found difficulty concentrating and lost her thoughts mid-sentence.
“I had severe pain in three distinct locations in the right side of my head.”
A feeling of a drill going in behind her right ear, pressure into her right temple, while at the back of her skull she felt like it was going to explode.
“My head felt so fragile I couldn’t bear the touch of anything against it.”
On days six and seven after receiving the first dose, she was on the floor of her lounge unable to function.
“I had nausea, violent vomiting, hallucinations, and felt I was going in and out of consciousness.”
She woke on Saturday, September 4, feeling like she’d been kicked in the ovaries.
On making a call to the Covid Healthline on Sunday she was advised to go immediately to A&E.
“I was checked three times for signs of stroke, blood clots and bleeding on the brain.”
She was also given a CT scan and had blood tests taken.
“I’m told they all came back fine. I was then discharged with advice from the doctor to not get the second vaccine.”
Despite being prepared to have the second shot and going with husband Paul, who received his second vaccination on October 9, the clinic refused to administer it due to her on-going reaction to the first vaccine.
The following weeks were filled with suffering relapses, brain fog, extreme head pain, fatigue and an uncontrollable severe body twitch.
Unable to work, and initially refused an ACC claim, Rozanne found herself in what she says was “a very scary place having just been given a life-altering diagnosis”.
She didn’t know if she would recover or get worse and reached out to others who like her were suffering severe symptoms.
Rozanne found herself having to make it clear to people that she is not an anti-vaxer but a realist, recognising that a vaccine is essential to dealing with the Covid-19 virus.
Barely able to function, there was more devastating news.
Because she hasn’t received her second vaccination, under the new traffic light system she was now being officially categorised as unvaccinated.
“Without that second vaccine lodged against my name in the Ministry of Health database, I am considered un-vaxed and therefore lumped in with anyone who have made their choice to not be vaccinated for whatever other reason – and punished accordingly.”
For the popular organiser of large events, this is a huge blow.
“I won’t be able to go to bars, restaurants, hairdressers – or even attend my own events if I can’t get an exemption.”
She is calling on the Government to acknowledge her and others who are suffering extreme side effects, and are not able to receive a second vaccine.
Having a category created for this unique set of individuals would mean income support and an exemption, but the battle for acknowledgement requires massive energy.
Three months on, she is starting to find she is improving, after discontinuing her anti-depressants and replacing them with natural products and Eastern herbal remedies.
“I got angry at the medical chemicals pumped into my body and decided to go cold turkey, threw away anti-depressants and stopped pain killers. I picked up some eastern remedies recommended to me, products that have been used for thousands of years to aid the body with respiratory conditions and brain clarity and function.
“I’m now in a much better place. I also attribute this to taking myself off social media. I was living and breathing through Facebook and getting incredibly angry at all the division, separation, differing opinions and people’s inability to see the other side, the lack of compassion. It’s so sad.”
The enjoyment of life is returning as she allows her body and mind to heal, and appreciates everyone who has surrounded her with love and understanding.
“It’s been 12 long weeks of not being well, and I’m still not well, but I’m on the path to healing.”
She is still reaching out to others who are still suffering from side effects from receiving the Pfizer vaccine.
“Some are going downhill, getting worse and my heart goes out to them.”
Rozanne says ACC still haven’t ‘come to the ball’, saying her case is still under investigation.
“They probably won’t make a decision until mid to late December at the earliest. I’m grateful that I have Southern Cross insurance to cover my medical bills, but that doesn’t help when I’ve lost 12 weeks of income and all this event planning time. At most, people shouldn’t be sick for more than a few of days from receiving a vaccine. Twelve plus weeks is not acceptable.”
Last week she went to her GP to apply for an exemption.
“I am hoping I get that so that I don’t have to have a second Pfizer vaccine – I can’t afford more time off work or being this ill again. Yet there’s a likelihood that it won’t get accepted.”
Even though now she comes under the exemptions clause for a severe adverse effect to the dosage and meets all the criteria, she says there’s no guarantees it will be approved. That decision for exemption is made by someone who has never met her.
She is also concerned by the many people who try to assign the blame for any reactions to the vaccine on pre-existing or underlying medical conditions.
“I think that’s an ignorant comment for people to make.”
She asks everyone who has been vaccinated to take time to consider those who haven’t been, to understand that it’s not always their choice.
In many cases these people do have serious medical conditions which they are concerned about, or even been advised by their own GPs not to have the vaccines at all.
“Try imagine what it’s like for people like me who have been picked up forcibly and tossed into the other side. Start to understand why there is anger and hesitancy from so many, why there is frustration and why people are trying to yell louder and louder.”
“Here I am 12 weeks on, slowly coming right, managing to work a couple of hours most days and hopefully on the road to recovery. But it’s been a long, long road, far too long from one supposedly safe vaccine.”