Vaccines have saved an incalculable number of lives over the course of modern history. The founders of COVERSE are all pro(safe) vaccines, advocating for all Australians with a genuine COVID-19 vaccine injury. We stand for informed consent, solid science, medical safety, harm avoidance and regulatory ethics.
“Anti-vax” is an ideology that refers to total opposition to vaccination. No one who has rolled up their sleeve for the COVID-19 vaccines and boosters can be defined as anti-vax.
The relationship of certain political movements to anti-vax sentiments and beliefs is a more complex and global phenomenon that precedes the COVID-19 pandemic, and is an issue that extends well beyond science, health and medicine.
Never forget that over 95% of Australians signed up for their primary series of COVID-19 vaccines. It was quite an achievement. We are the 95%. To deride us with the false “anti-vax” label is a cynical and painful way to discredit extremely vulnerable people who have shown their commitment to our collective well-being. The bigger picture is that belief and ideology have zero correlation with how any individual’s body will handle any particular vaccine. Like COVID-19 itself, COVID-19 vaccine injuries do not discriminate.
COVERSE is extremely concerned that the lack of care, information, treatment and financial support afforded to those of us who have suffered severe adverse reactions to COVID-19 vaccines will foster unprecedented vaccine hesitancy, affecting the take-up of all vaccines.
There’s a lot to unpack here. Let’s deal with “effective” first. Data from clinical trials did initially suggest that these vaccine had a high degree of efficacy (for example, 95% for Pfizer, 96% for Moderna). However, it is now recognised that immunity created by these vaccines wanes over a period of months, rendering them effective only for a limited period of time. Then there is the issue of new strains of the virus which are increasingly able to evade any prior immunity created by the vaccines (for example, one large study suggests limited benefit of the original vaccines for Omicron). Moreover, we all know people (including many in the public eye) who are not only fully boosted but have contracted COVID-19 multiple times despite this.
None of this is to suggest that the vaccines are not a useful tool in the fight against the pandemic, or that vulnerable individuals shouldn’t be able to make an informed decision as to whether these products are appropriate for themselves, only that bold assertions of the products’ effectiveness are clearly over-played, and at the very least we ought to be diverting our efforts and public resources into exploring other interventions to control and treat the virus (see the ‘vaccine-plus’ policy of OzSAGE).
As for “safe”, the notion of drug safety is quite subjective, as all drugs have the potential for adverse reactions. Drugs that treat ill patients may have significant risks of side-effects (including death), but depending on the seriousness of the illnesses they are treating these risks may be acceptable for those patients. However, in the case of vaccines we expect the level of risk to be minimal, because these are drugs being used on healthy individuals who have not yet gotten ill from the disease they are meant to prevent — it runs counter to the purpose of vaccination if a particular vaccine causes significant numbers of healthy people to become seriously ill from the drug. This is why drug regulators typically demand very high standards of safety outcomes for vaccines, with serious adverse events being extremely rare, in the order of 1-in-1,000,000 to 1-in-100,000 individuals.
Claims of vaccine safety rely on the integrity of private (clinical trial) and public (drug agency) data, and the availability of long-term safety studies. Sadly, hardly any COVID-19 vaccine-injured Australians have gotten follow-up or investigation from the TGA. The TGA’s claims that it investigates all serious adverse events is misleading at best. We repeat: hardly any of us have been contacted by the TGA about our adverse reactions. Furthermore, re-analysis of clinic trial data suggests that serious Adverse Events of Significant Interest (AESI) — many of which are extremely debilitating and life-changing — may not be rare, and may exceed 1-in-1,000 (which would be at least 100× worse than the typical vaccine). This is further supported by ongoing survey data from the Paul-Ehrlich-Institut in Germany, whose pharmacovigilance program outshines most other country’s programs, including Australia’s.
Pharmacovigilance should not just reflect, but actively investigate the statistics of injury. One of the potential serious adverse effects from these vaccines is myocarditis/pericarditis. The TGA continues to claim that these heart conditions mainly affect young men and are mild, short-lived conditions. However, amongst our own community of vaccine-injured individuals we find people with myocarditis and pericarditis of all ages, of both sexes, whose heart pain and associated complications continue for many months and in some cases more than a year. This is in complete contrast to public health messaging, and is one of many reasons why we assert that the “safe” messages we receive are not entirely accurate. An honest and proactive assessment of the facts would show that these vaccines are not as safe as they’ve been portrayed.
For some of us, yes, we do have Long Covid — but caused by the vaccines. For many of us, we experienced our vaccine injuries prior to widespread COVID-19 infections in the community. Additionally, many of us also have a barrage of negative PCR tests and negative SARS-CoV-2 blood serology tests. Given that the vaccines are based on the highly pathogenic S-protein of the SARS-CoV-2 virus, it is not unreasonable to deduce that this is likely the cause of our adverse reactions and also why many of us are experiencing symptoms that seem to closely mirror Long Covid. In fact, some research on COVID-19 vaccine injuries is now acknowledging this. For this reason, we now refer to this new disease, caused by the vaccines, as Long Vaccine Syndrome. We work in solidarity with Long Covid advocates and hope to contribute our unique data to Long Covid studies.
Despite public health messaging claiming that serious reactions to the COVID-19 vaccines are very rare, new and independent analysis of clinical trial data shows that these claims may be overblown. While the real rate of serious and ongoing adverse reactions is unknown (simply because pharmacovigilance agencies are choosing not to investigate reports of these reactions), we are confident in saying that there are many thousands of people in the Australian community who have been impacted by vaccine harm. Individuals who seek to dismiss serious adverse reactions as “unlucky” fail to acknowledge that this has occurred to actual human beings, not mere statistics. We deserve the same level of public consideration and medical care as any other person struggling with a major health challenge, including COVID-19 and Long Covid sufferers.
In response to community concerns about unknown side-effects of the COVID-19 vaccines, the Australian Government developed the COVID-19 vaccine claims scheme, meant to compensate people for medical costs and lost income due to a serious adverse reaction. However, the design of this scheme excludes most of us, despite our demonstrated serious ongoing health complications caused by the vaccines. As of August 2022, only 1% of COVID-19 vaccine claims have been successful. Without this support, we are going into significant debt trying to fix ourselves on our own and trying to help others in the same situation. Many cannot afford upfront payments.
The public is being told our adverse reactions are “self-limiting”, and even that the low number of processed claims somehow represents a low number of genuine cases, when this is not accurate nor based on any factual data. Even if the claims scheme were accessible and fit for purpose (which it is not), compensation alone without access to leading-edge treatment initiatives will not repair our health.
We are committed to the social model of disability and are committed to work in solidarity with immunocompromised and disabled people for justice in the government’s public health response to the COVID-19 pandemic. The majority of us receive increasingly limited protection from the vaccines that injured us, however, we do not receive consideration or mention as a group who are at risk and no longer participating in society with the rollback of many public health measures. The majority of us have also been unable to receive vaccine exemptions, even when our reaction is recognised by medical practitioners. Career limbo and loss are exacerbated by the uncertain management of our vaccination status by the government, our vacillating health, and limited to zero COVID-19 protection. While we support public health measures to limit exposure to, and the transmission of, COVID-19, we do not support measures that remove an individual’s right to make an informed choice (free of all forms of coercion) on vaccination.
In short: why shouldn’t you believe us? If we were afflicted with some other health condition — say, cancer or degenerative disease — you wouldn’t be doubting us. Doubt isn’t an issue of whether or not our health challenges have been caused by the COVID-19 vaccines, it’s the extraordinary public pressure from our governments and others in the public sphere who continue to gaslight us and actively sow doubt amongst the public against our claims to limit liability. Despite this extraordinary campaign against active citizens — we are individuals who stepped up and did what was asked of us in the face of an unknown and significant public health threat — not a single one of those who have been active participants in this gaslighting has offered to help us or to prove that our claims are caused by anything other than the COVID-19 vaccines.
With so many people being vaccinated all at once, surely we expect to see a greater number of adverse reactions? –
This is logical. If we assume that the COVID-19 vaccines are equally as safe as other vaccines that are used throughout society (e.g. standard childhood vaccines, annual flu vaccines, etc.), then the fact that we are vaccinating an awful lot of people all at once might result in a proportional increase in the number of adverse events being experienced. However, what is actually being observed is a significantly greater number of adverse events than we might expect — that is, COVID-19 vaccines do indeed appear to be more likely to cause serious and other adverse reactions.
Setting aside the issue of economic and social coercion that large sections of the community have been subjected to (which negates the notion of medical consent), many of the serious adverse reactions that we are experiencing have never been acknowledged by pharmaceutical companies or by the government drug agencies. Despite this, there is evidence of these reactions having occurred during clinical trials, and certainly during the early stages of public vaccine programs around the world. By not revealing all of these potential adverse reactions, we have been denied access to information that would make us informed of the real risks of these vaccines. As if this isn’t bad enough, many of us have begged the government to mount a serious investigation into our reactions in order to fully inform the rest of the Australian community of these risks, particularly in light of the ongoing primary and booster vaccination program. Sadly, this has fallen on deaf ears. We can tell you that the government has been informed of our reactions, yet by choosing to withhold this information from the public, it places our fellow citizens in a position where they are also unable to provide informed consent. This represents an egregious assault on our basic human rights and is a major public policy failure.
Often the very first response to our claims that we have been injured by a COVID-19 vaccine is that “coincidence does not prove causality”. Sadly, this is a complex situation, and responding with such throw-away lines is neither helpful nor scientifically sound. Given the often very strong temporal coincidence with vaccination, and subsequent lack of medical evidence for any other cause, “causality” must be at least considered a prime possibility. Our public health messaging, however, has consistently used this throw-away line as a way to dismiss our claims, while at the same time no rigorous investigations into our individual or collective cases have been undertaken.
In our individual journeys to find treatment for ourselves, most of us have undertaken extensive medical tests (at our own expense) and in the vast majority of cases, we find no other cause for our symptoms. This includes negative tests for the SARS-CoV-2 virus, Epstein-Barr virus, cancers, heart disease, and many other conditions that might explain some of our symptoms. A number of us also have “rechallenge” evidence — where we had a significant adverse reaction to the vaccine and later got a repeat (or worsening) of our symptoms with a subsequent dose.
The overwhelming weight of evidence suggests that the COVID-19 vaccines are the direct cause of our catastrophic and debilitating health issues. We are keen to work with the scientific establishment to help unravel the mechanisms of our injuries and to find new treatment options to help us reclaim our lives.
For Australian residents who have experienced a serious and/or ongoing adverse reaction to their COVID-19 vaccinations, we ask that you complete a Vaccine Injury Profile so we can collect independent data with which to advocate on behalf of the entire vaccine-injured community.
The Vaccine Injury Profile is only available to registered users. Once you are registered and logged into your account you can access your Vaccine Injury Profile from within either the Patients or the Account menu items.
If you have recently registered with us please ensure you have clicked on the link contained in the confirmation email to activate your account. If you cannot find the email, please check your Junk folder.
If you have forgotten your password you can reset it.
If you are still experiencing issues, please email us ensuring to let us know what email address you registered with and details on what technical problem you are facing.