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Adam Clarke, 22 yrs old

First Dose of Pfizer on 07/02/21

United Kingdom

22 yrs old

Q: What was your life like before you got the vaccine?

We were in lockdown off and on for a while, but I was living at my mum's with my sister. We would go on walks, and I would go skateboarding most days. We also went on holiday to Cornwall. I was pretty happy.

Q: Would you like to share your reasons for getting vaccinated?

I felt pressured a lot by society in general. I wanted to be able to travel, go out clubbing at university, and be allowed to do other things. I did also want to protect myself, and I definitely wasn't against it at all. I was a bit hesitant. My mum made me an appointment, and I put off having it done. She ended up calling me anti-vax, which made me feel a bit stupid, so I decided to go ahead and get it. I definitely regret my choice now.

Q: What was your reaction, symptoms, & timeline?

It started 2 weeks after my first dose. I felt extremely dizzy and unwell. Then my arms and legs went numb, starting in my hands and spreading upwards. I still had some feeling but barely 30% of normal. I also had vertigo, rapid heart, chest pains, tremors, dizziness, dissociative, seizures, extreme anxiety, fatigue, confusion. I basically thought I'd had some sort of stroke. My symptoms have varied over the course of 8 months now. I also developed some vision issues, including blurry vision, and seeing flashing green dots and flashes of white. At the moment, I am having heart issues. My heart races whenever I do any small activity, and I have shortness of breath.

Q: What is your life like now, after getting the vaccine?

I wake up most days at 1pm. I have really bad insomnia, and I usually finally fall asleep at 5am. I am mainly in bed at the moment. My mum works, so I am alone in the flat all day. I try and get up and do yoga or go for a walk, if my symptoms aren't too bad. I am mainly lying down, because I have really bad chest pains and shortness of breath, if I try to do anything too physical. I am constantly stressing out, because I develop new symptoms all the time and some of them feel really worrying.

Q: Share your experience with any medical care and any diagnoses you have received:

I have seen a private neurologist, a cardiologist, and a functional doctor. The neurologist diagnosed me with FND, and the cardiologist has diagnosed me with POTS. I have been to A and E about 5 times. Every time I go there, I just get told that I have anxiety, and doctors don't listen to any of my symptoms.

Q: Was your reaction reported, and what was the response?

I reported to the yellow card reporting system in the UK, and I had no response.

Q: Is there anything that has helped, and have your symptoms improved?

For me, nothing I have tried has really helped. I think getting a good amount of sleep makes a difference, and any time I can do exercise, it helps. The only thing that has really helped is time. It seems like there is a timeline of different symptoms. Some symptoms improve, and others change over time. I think in general, I have improved slightly over the 8 months.

Q: Have you had Covid before? What was your experience if so?

I haven't had covid before. I tested myself when my symptoms started, and I have never tested positive or had any symptoms.

Q: What do you wish others knew?

That you are not alone. There are a lot of people like us who, for whatever reason, these shots did not agree with in the slightest. If it gives you any hope, I thought I would never see any improvement, but these last couple weeks, I feel like I am getting better. Still nowhere near normal, but definitely better.

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