Advocates in Action: Danice Hertz
Hello! Amy Collen again, and this month I had the pleasure of interviewing Dr. Danice Hertz. Danice is on the advisory board of React19, and manages the vaccine injured support group on Facebook. Danice’s story, while painful, is an example of the power of giving back, even though you yourself are suffering.
Danice is a retired gastroenterologist, who took the Pfizer BioNTech COVID-19 Vaccine on December 23, 2020. She was one of the first people to receive the vaccine, and was vaccinated the second week of the initial rollout.
Danice received her vaccine when fear of COVID had reached a fever pitch. Mainstream media filled the airwaves with reports of deaths, and getting the vaccine was seen as the only way out of the pandemic. In fact, the vaccines were seen as a godsend to many people. Danice felt the same. Once hearing that she was eligible for the vaccine, she couldn’t get there fast enough. Danice recalls, ““We were panicked! I remember we were scared to death we were going to die of COVID, and I was so excited that I was able to get it.”
Danice’s enthusiasm was short-lived, however. Within 30 minutes, she experienced horrific adverse reactions:
“My face started tingling, my vision became blurred, and I almost passed out. Within 24 hours I became severely ill. My entire body was on fire. It felt like someone was pouring acid on me but it was especially bad on my face. My entire body was vibrating. I had tinnitus, chest pain, palpitations, and shortness of breath. I felt dizzy and was very out of balance. I had a hard time walking a straight line. I had trouble thinking and trouble speaking. I was really scared and very very ill.”
This began a downward spiral which left Danice mostly bedridden for the better part of a year. Danice experienced reactions so severe, it brought her close to suicide, “I was having these attacks where my body felt like it was being electrocuted. It was like I had my finger in an electric socket, I would literally be screaming.”
Doctors proved to be of no help. Danice consulted 25 doctors who did not know what to make of Danice’s case. They were either uninformed, in denial, or chalked it up to anxiety. Some suggested seeing a psychiatrist. Overall, Danice says, “Many of them literally shrugged their shoulders and said, ‘I have no idea’.”
Danice researched online articles and journals to try and find some answers. She came across an article from Neurology Today that claimed there were no neurological reactions to the vaccines. Danice quickly posted to the site that there were, if fact, serious neurological effects, and she was suffering from them. Danice also inadvertently included her email in this post, an act that proved to be life-changing.
Email responses came pouring in from all over the world, from people who were experiencing the same symptoms as Danice. Their relief in knowing they were not alone was palpable, as was Danice’s. There were people emailing, texting, or calling from the Philippines, the Caribbean, even Russia, all seeking connection and advice. Sheryl Reutgers was the first person to contact Danice after seeing her comment on the study. Sheryl, wife of former Green Bay Packers star Ken Reutgers, had been experiencing the same symptoms as Danice. This connection proved essential. Furthermore, since the Reutgers were from Wisconsin, Ken was able to get Senator Ron Johnson involved.
The movement and awareness of vaccine injury continued to grow. Fellow React 19 board member and founder, Brianne Dressen, found Danice as well. Together with 6 others, including Sheryl, they started the online FB support group for those suffering from vaccine injury. This group soon branched out into many other groups with memberships in the thousands.
Danice also took her fight to the FDA, along with participating in an NIH study of 23 vaccine injured people. This proved to be discouraging, however, and neither attempt yielded promising results. Danice has 160 pages of email correspondence between herself, former FDA commissioner Janet Woodcock, and other high ups at the government agencies. Neither the FDA nor the NIH has gone beyond their statement that vaccine injury is rare. Furthermore, contact with FDA Biologics Evaluations and Research Director, Peter Marks, proved to be a dead end. “He just dismisses everything we say.”
However, Danice remains undaunted. Her motto is “We won’t stop until we win.” She continues to use her voice to be an advocate for both herself and others. Furthermore, given her unique position as a retired medical doctor, she is able to take her advocacy one step further. She not only knows what the vaccine injured are going through, she can help guide the injured to get appropriate medical care.
Thankfully, despite being ignored by the major alphabet agencies like the FDA, NIH, or CDC, Danice has witnessed a growing awareness in the medical field. Sadly, since the number of vaccine injuries are growing, more and more people are seeking help from their doctors, and doctors can no longer deny there is a problem.
While Danice at first received contact from the vaccine injured, she now is being contacted by doctors. In fact, at the time of our interview, Danice had received a phone call from a doctor in Las Vegas wanting her medical expertise. Danice even gave one of her own doctors medical advice on how to treat his vaccine injured patients, “I actually sat down during my [medical] appointment and told him how to work up and treat these patients. I gave him all the lessons for vaccine injury.”
Danice believes many of the vaccine injured suffer from Mast Cell Activation Syndrome. And that after 2 years, most people fall into 3 groups: those that have recovered, those that have improved but still suffer devastating setbacks (Danice counts herself in this group), and those that have gotten worse. Danice cautions that in most cases, a diet low in histamine is key, but setbacks can still occur.
Sadly, Danice also suffers from pericarditis due to the vaccine, and this along with her other injuries, has changed her outlook on life. She now takes each day as it comes, never knowing when that day might be her last. She has since gotten all her affairs in order, made out her will, and completely organized her home. This is something she may not have done if she hadn’t been injured. Danice now is just grateful for each day she is given.
We are grateful for you, Danice. Thank you for all your hard work and dedication to help the thousands, if not millions, of people out there. You have made such a difference in their lives. You have shown them that they are not alone, and that there is a voice of medical experience out there advocating for them. You truly are a blessing.
At the moment I am working on my book Coronavirus Chronicles (working title), raising my two wonderful teenage boys, traveling, baking, immersing myself in Judaism, and writing for React19, a grassroots vaccine-injured advocacy group. In the past I also wrote for the musical group New Monkees, and on special education and disability issues.