COVID-19: Woman whose fiance likely died from Pfizer vaccine tells coroner's inquest of PTSD

The fiancée of a man who the Ministry of Health confirmed likely died from the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine has told of the trauma she has suffered in the wake of his death.

Dunedin man Rory Nairn died just less than two weeks after getting his first dose of the Pfizer vaccine at a local pharmacy. His death this week is under the microscope at a coronial inquest.

Nairn, 26, had no pre-existing health conditions before his sudden death in November.

Ashleigh Wilson, Nairn's fiancée, said the couple had just bought their dream house. She said Nairn was vaccine hesitant but the couple wanted to go ahead with their wedding.

"We walked past the pharmacy and we made the worst decision of our lives," Wilson told the inquest.

The couple received their first doses of the Pfizer vaccine and, 12 days later, Nairn collapsed and died from myocarditis - an inflammation of the heart muscle that is treatable if caught early.

"I heard a loud heaving noise… I ran to the bathroom but wasn't able to open the door," Wilson said. "I could see him through the crack of the door… I could see that he was dead."

Wilson said Nairn had earlier experienced symptoms, including telling her his chest "felt weird".

She said he'd also been searching about heart conditions on his phone before he died.

Rory Nairn.
Rory Nairn. Photo credit: File

"I have suffered extreme PTSD," Wilson said, of "watching the love of my life die".

"The high-profile nature of his death has been very difficult."

According to the Ministry of Health, myocarditis was a rare side effect of the vaccine and was also a known complication of COVID-19 itself.

Just under 910 cases of myocarditis have been reported to the Centre for Adverse Reactions Monitoring, which is continuing to be monitored by medicines regulator Medsafe. One person has died from vaccine-related myocarditis and two other deaths - including Nairn's - were likely caused by the condition. 

During the inquest, coroner Sue Johnson will look at what was known about myocarditis as a side effect of the vaccine, what the vaccinator knew and what information was given to Nairn when he got his first jab.