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K.B. – Michigan

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Describe the symptoms and the timeline of the reaction.


I decided it was time for me to schedule the vaccine shortly after both neighbors contracted COVID, as well as extended family members in Brazil. All of them are like me, careful with using masks, hand sanitizing, keeping a close-knit bubble of other careful, responsible people, but COVID was now penetrating that bubble. I took this as a ""sign"" it was my time. Shortly after my age group became available (50+) I signed up for Pfizer. I chose Pfizer carefully, as I believed this was the safest, with least amount of side effects ""reported"" and no preservatives. First shot was April 16, second was May 7. Less than 24 hours after the 2nd shot I had a severe reaction. I am a pretty active 54 yr old, who exercised 3-4/week; brisk walks, elliptical machine, strength training. But, the day after my second vaccine shot, I could barely walk past the neighbor house without severe Shortness of breath (SOB), a tremendous tightening feeling in my chest, shoulders, and majority of back. I had to catch my breath every few steps. I figured this was just a side effect and would dissipate. I had the same experience later that evening, struggling to walk 2 blocks to a restaurant, and then again later that night coming home (about a 5 min walk) from a neighbor's in our subdivision. The next several days I continued to have issues - with any type of exertion, even walking up the stairs in our home - getting winded easily, with same tightness sensation in chest, shoulders and back. I finally set up an E-visit (COVID related) with a U-M COVID focused nurse. She actually called me early that morning and said the symptoms I described were very concerning and to go right to the ER. I followed her instructions and ended up being admitted for a battery of tests: chest Xray, EKG, echocardigoram, stress test - stayed for the weekend. Cardiologist at St. Mary Mercy in Livonia Mi first insisted (as well as rest of medical staff there) this was NOT COVID vaccine related. It was almost defiant - but I was diagnosed with Afib and also septial defect and was referred to a Congenital Heart Specialist at U-M. Before I was able to get in for that consult, after being released from hospital on Sunday, May 16, I went back to the ER on May 19 - having swelling/edema and lingering winded feelings again. Discharged May 20, and had my consult at U-M May 25. Finally, a dr, Dr. Sal Hayek, who was open to a possibility of vaccine related trigger. He changed up my meds and put me on a 2 week heart monitor. I started feeling a little better, but very low energy. Turned out the results of the heart rate monitor showed I was in Afib 100% of the time - so I was referred to an ElectroPhysiologist who performed first a Cardioversion (which shocked my heart into normal rhythm for about an hour only) and then an Ablation which was performed on July 16. There definitely is a difference after this procedure. However, I completed a Cardiac MRI on Tuesday, July 27, and it clearly showed myocarditis! Dr. Hayek was very surprised, because my Troponin level is not elevated and I am starting to feel better, but he said the results clearly show that a severe reaction to the vaccine (myocarditis) is what sent me to the ER. The MRI showed a lot of scarring on the heart so now we are proceeding with my wearing a temporary ""life vest"" for protection - a portable defibrillator if you will, and then will have a PET Scan and an Electrophysiology study to make sure I am not at risk for more dangerous events. I am not an ""anti-vaxxer"", but believe everyone should make the choice that is right for them. I do NOT appreciate friends, family, media, state and federal government pushing/bullying people into a vaccine which by personal experience, still is new and not proven. My husband and my 12 year old son are not vaccinated, and have no plans to be any time in the near future. And I certainly will not be getting a booster. I consider myself lucky. Although this has been a scary and stressful road, I am confident in my medical team and treatment and optimistic for a full recovery. However, there are many (not isolated/rare cases) who have suffered worse consequences. Thank you for this forum to share my story and fully agree there should be pressure put on the pharmaceutical companies and government to demand more testing of these vaccines and study of these side effects.

-K.B. - Michigan"

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