Experiencing an adverse reaction to your COVID vaccination is a very disconcerting experience. It will be unclear to you at the start that there is very limited infrastructure set up to help you.
Medically, you may be faced with a kaleidoscope of unexplained and unusual health complications that you’ve never had or even heard of before. Maybe these issues arose immediately or within moments of vaccination, or maybe they developed over time. Due to the abstract nature of your symptoms and a distinct lack of research and education on COVID-19 vaccination injuries; medical and community understanding of adverse events is still very limited in Australia. This can lead to your attempts to obtain a diagnosis and/or treatment to be a very difficult and resource intensive exercise.
It is most important to remember that you know your body best, you are your best advocate and you are not alone.
The following items may be of assistance to you while navigating your injury journey.
Find a doctor
Finding a doctor who is compassionate and willing to guide you through your complex symptoms is incredibly important.
Because there is not yet specific education or standard approach for assessing COVID-19 vaccine injuries in Australia, medical professionals’ knowledge and understanding of your symptoms will vary widely. You may need the care of multiple specialists over time; some doctors within the same specialisation may have quite different ideas of what is happening to you, or will show more or less interest in investigating causes or solutions. To go on this journey, you really need a good GP to discuss all pieces of the puzzle. If you do not have such a GP, you will need to find one.
Report your reaction
If you experience any adverse event after your COVID-19 vaccination or you have experienced an increase or change in your existing symptoms, COVERSE strongly recommends reporting this to the Therapeutic Goods Administration (TGA).
The TGA is part of the Department of Health, and is tasked with the regulation and (passive) monitoring of therapeutic goods in Australia. They maintain the Database of Adverse Event Notifications (DAEN), which is similar to the VAERS in the USA, the Yellow Card system in the UK, and the EU EudraVigilance system.
For other research and patient data collection opportunities see the studies page.
Request health records
It is likely that you will see a large number of different health professionals throughout your injury. Make sure you request full copies of hospital records, discharge statements, pathology reports, scan results and specialist reports. While not all the details may make sense now, it is important you have a full and complete history.
Seek compensation or financial support
There are a number of avenues for compensation and/or financial support that may be available to injured patients depending on their circumstances.
Dealing with these issues can be frustrating and tiring, so be mindful of the potential impact on your health. Seek assistance from family / friends as well as professionals where appropriate.
Practice self care
While we face so many health challenges it is important to take care of ourselves as much as we can. There are small steps we can take that brings back the sense of control we have over what is happening to us. Here are some things that have helped some of our members.