Coronavirus: 35yo injured by vaccine brushed off as 'bonkers' despite going to hospital every few weeks with pericarditis

A 35-year-old whose health went downhill after getting his first COVID-19 vaccine says he's spent months being ignored, disbelieved, and brushed off as being crazy.

Hayden Harvey, a builder from Wellington, got his first Pfizer dose in September, but has since been rushed to hospital nine times with pericarditis. 

Despite almost dying and living with the knowledge he could have another attack at any moment, he isn't anti-vax and is a firm believer in the science behind it.

Harvey just wants support for the few hundred people like him who did the right thing, tried to be part of the team of five million, but ended up paying for it with their health.

"Out of the nine visits to hospital, I would say four of them I was thinking, 'I'm probably going to cark it'," Harvey told The Project.

Two weeks after he got his first Pfizer dose in September, while he and his fiance Jax Myers were looking at wedding venues in Nelson, he started feeling like he was having a heart attack.

"I went to bed and woke up at about 3am with severe chest pain. Every time my heart beat, it was like a real deep stabbing pain," Harvey said.

"I was like, 'Babe I'm in a bad way, I think I'm dying', and then we shot to the hospital in Nelson and was told I had pericarditis."

Pericarditis is the inflammation of the pericardium, the thin sac surrounding the heart. When it gets swollen, blood and fluid can leak.

"It's like someone sitting on your chest with a fire burning inside you," Harvey said.

Since that day in September, he's been rushed to hospital every few weeks.

"We've been in and out of hospital nine times, been admitted to cardiology twice. My things that I've had is pericarditis, a plural infusion, the bottom of my left lung collapsed."

Coronavirus: 35yo injured by vaccine brushed off as 'bonkers' despite going to hospital every few weeks with pericarditis
Photo credit: The Project

Myers said it had been really difficult not knowing what was going to happen to Harvey and having to repeatedly go to hospital.

"I don't think I slept for probably three of the seven months because I would wake up every hour on the hour just to check that he was breathing," she said.

"And then when we were in hospital, there was a time where they had put so much morphine and fentanyl into Hayden's system and the nurses left the room and they just said, 'Can you make sure that his breaths per minute don't go under 20'. So I sat there for an hour counting his breaths to make sure that he wasn't going to die."

Pericarditis is listed as a side effect of the vaccine, but Harvey has had to fight not just for his life, but to be believed.

"That look on their face as soon as you say the word vaccine injured, or anything to do with the vaccine, it's a complete dismissive look of 'No Hayden, we're not talking about that here'. Almost close the curtains, kind of thing," Harvey said.

But no one wanted to hear about it.

"It's a horrible feeling to be looked at like you are bonkers," he said.

"No one was really listening to me, and my doctor, once I got to see her, said, 'I believe it's a vaccine-related injury, I'm going to get you ACC'."

ACC has accepted 860 claims for adverse reactions to the vaccine. Most are minor, but 59 are from people like Harvey with cardiac injuries.

Despite what he's been through, Harvey isn't anti-vax.

"I'm not anti-vax, I'm anti-pericarditis after the vaccine though," he said.

"The vaccine is a good tool that's proven, the science doesn't lie, and it's something that's helped millions of people. It just didn't help me."

The only thing that's helping him now is drugs. He takes 14 each day, and although there are side effects with his medication, the most painful for him and Myers is that they can't try for a baby.

"We were looking at wedding venues, we were planning this awesome next phase of our life, which would be having a family, and now we're in limbo and we don't know how long that's going to be for," Myers said.

"He might be sitting with us today looking like this and in four hours we might be in hospital. So you can never let your guard down."

While they wait in limbo, they hope to be taken seriously and get some recognition.

"There's not many of us, apparently. Throw us a bone," Harvey said.

Watch the video above.