Doctors unwilling to address Covid vax concerns
By Greg Robbins
I live in St. Johnsbury, Vermont. I am one of hundreds of thousands of Vermont residents who agreed to get the COVID-19 vaccinations. I am also one of the thousands who suffered vaccine adverse events. I’m sharing my story so other vaccine-injured individuals can gain comfort knowing that you are not alone, and so that our communities can begin to understand what we are going through. The more of us who come forward to share our experiences, the sooner we can be heard by our local, state and federal legislators and community leaders, get answers and resolution.
I was a healthy 55 year old, except for several musculoskeletal injuries, before I received both of the Moderna COVID-19 vaccinations in April and May 2021. I had received recommended vaccinations in the past, but my decision to get a COVID-19 vaccine arose from two factors. First, my 80 year old mother died from COVID-19 in 2020 at the skilled nursing facility where she lived. Second was the relentless pressure from close family and in the messages of Vermont Governor Phil Scott and Director of Vermont Department of Health Dr. Mark Levine during their weekly addresses to the state.
I received Moderna dose #1 on 4/13/21, Moderna dose #2 on 5/11/21. The first adverse symptoms occurred almost four weeks to the day after dose #1: painful, fluid-filled swelling in my left knee. I limped into the clinic for the second dose. Flu-like symptoms occurred within six hours of #2 and lasted for about 72 hrs.
I was told to expect side effects after dose #2 so I thought this was normal. After dose #2, my right knee experienced the same symptoms as the left after dose #1 but this time it was worse. The symptoms went away after about one week. I’m still dealing with pain, weakness, stiffness and a limited ability to perform normal daily activities due to chronic knee pain. By the way, on January 16, 2022 I came down with COVID-19 even though I was fully vaccinated.
I used to enjoy many outdoor activities like hiking, gardening, foraging, hunting and activities around home like cooking and small maintenance projects. These adverse events have limited and/or eliminated many of these fun activities. I was unable to attend regular physical therapy appointments while struggling through some of the more debilitating events and am still unable to get back to my regular physical therapy routine for the musculoskeletal injuries I had before I got vaccinated.
I have addressed my symptoms with rest, ice, compression and elevation (R.I.C.E) and anti-inflammatory medicines. Tylenol was useless. I was forced to sleep many nights on my sofa with legs and feet elevated on pillows because I could not go upstairs to my bedroom.
After dose #2’s symptoms began, I went to my primary care physician to get checked out. Lab work showed elevated inflammation markers and a slight increase in uric acid levels. Tests for Lyme disease and rheumatoid arthritis were negative. My doctor offered no explanation or diagnosis, and referred me to an orthopedic specialist to have the fluid drained from my right knee. X-Rays were inconclusive. The orthopedist said there was not enough inflammation of the knee to justify an invasive procedure to drain the fluid and had no explanation for my symptoms even though I asked if they were possibly caused by the Moderna vaccines.
My doctors did not want to discuss if the COVID-19 vaccines may have caused my symptoms. “Never seen this before from COVID-19 vaccines and there have been no reports that we are aware of”. This was during the early roll-out of the COVID-19 vaccines to the general public in 2021. The orthopedist recommended that if the painful fluid-filled knee symptoms returned to come right in to get the fluid drained so it could be sent to the lab for testing. During my annual physical in fall 2021, I was asked if I would like a flu shot and if I had planned to get a COVID-19 booster. I reminded my doctor about my adverse events and then was advised not to get a COVID-19 booster.
I received a text alert from v-safe (the Center for Disease Control and Prevention’s After Vaccination Health Checker program) after each Moderna vaccine, and each time I reported my symptoms to VAERS, the Vaccine Adverse Event Reporting System, also part of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). They can be contacted at https://vaers.hhs.gov or by phone at 1-(800)-822-7967.
Medical providers are required to report to VAERS anytime they see a patient post-vaccination presenting with symptoms that otherwise could not be explained. At some point I received a phone call from VAERS to inquire about my symptoms. I continue to update VAERS by phone as new symptoms arise.
There have been quite a few new symptoms. Some are now chronic including loud bi-lateral tinnitus, skin lesions and rashes that don’t go away, brain fog, vertigo, difficulty concentrating, vision impairments, etc. My original symptoms were very debilitating and extremely painful; I was unable to stand, walk or even do daily activities like showering, toileting, preparing meals etc. Sleep was almost non-existent. The swollen knees have not returned but those symptoms made their way into my feet and ankles several months later. These new symptoms were reported to VAERS and ultimately went away.
I began the Countermeasures Injury Compensation Program (CICP) claims process in the first week of September 2021 after it became apparent that Blue Cross Blue Shield Vermont insurance was not going to help pay for my out-of-pocket medical expenses. CICP can be accessed via the VAERS website listed above. I strongly urge anyone to start the CICP claims process as soon as possible. There is only a short twelve month window from the first vaccination to file a claim. If you recently received a COVID-19 booster, you may still be able to file a claim with CICP.
The Vermont Department of Health was no help either. They told me to go back to my doctor. Repeated emails and phone calls to Gov. Scott seeking assistance and financial compensation beginning in July 2021 are still unanswered as of this writing. In August 2021 I reached out to our local elected officials.
Senator Joe Benning [Caledonia County] and Representative Scott Beck [St. Johnsbury] both suggested contacting Congressman Peter Welch, which I did. The CICP claims process has been extremely slow. Rep. Welch’s staff in Burlington has been helpful, but they ran into a roadblock after making inquiries to a congressional liaison at Health and Human Services (HHS).
Trying to speak with anyone at CICP is nearly impossible. Calls to them go to voicemail and it takes weeks to get a response. I have submitted all the documentation they requested, but I am still in the dark about when my claim will come up for medical review. Our elected officials need to step up and represent every single individual who has had or currently has adverse events as a result of receiving any of the COVID-19 vaccines. There should be a law enacted that would allow victims the ability to report their adverse events without feeling uneasy or being ostracized, ridiculed or losing their job. There should also be a law enacted that would compensate victims upon onset of adverse event symptoms that are otherwise denied and/or ignored by providers and insurance companies.
I have been vocal about my adverse events to anyone and everyone who might listen. Many have opened up to my concerns, some even shared similar stories of their own, but the really important avenues of discussion like Front Porch Forum and all but two of our elected officials and bureaucrats have either been closed-lipped or basically told me to stop being a baby.
“Being hospitalized on a ventilator could be much worse than your symptoms”. Only my first post to FPF expressing my concerns was actually published. All my attempts at followup posts were never published and several times FPF suspended my account for violating their mis-, dis-information protocols. That first FPF post brought a flurry of responses from some concerned community members, some of whom have been extremely supportive in my quest for answers and resolution.
If this is your first time hearing from someone who has had an adverse reaction to one of the COVID-19 vaccines, I hope you read this with an open mind and heart. If you, like me, have experienced an adverse event in response to one of the COVID-19 vaccines, tell your friends, family and the general public about it. We need to speak up and be part of the growing numbers of vaccine-injured people who are sharing our stories on websites like:
Here in Vermont there is the Vermont COVID Vaccine Adverse Event Story Project, firstname.lastname@example.org.
The author grew up in Massachusetts and relocated to New Hampshire after graduating from Maine Maritime Academy in 1990. He moved to Vermont in 2014. He is a former Merchant Marine officer working for a coastal oil transport company.