I am 63. I live in a very small coastal village on the Garden Route in the Western Cape, South Africa. I’m a professional property practitioner with my own property business. I’m fun loving, am intrigued by human nature and an animal activist. During hard lockdown, I fed pets in disadvantaged communities, and I set up a Facebook page for that project – HOPE (help our pets eat).
I am also a creative person: I paint, write, design and sew, and play piano. I am married and my husband works as a commercial diver, often travelling to do marine salvage work.
I have a grown-up son who lives in Cape Town, and I have two beautiful grandchildren, a boy of 12 and a girl of 9. I also take care of my 90-year-old mother who is in a retirement home, also in Cape Town. My work takes up a lot of my time, but I still walk my two dogs on the beach twice a day. They are what get me up in the morning because they need their walk! I love cooking and am interested in lots of different things.
Before the , my health was very good.
Pressure! That’s the reason I got . Doctors’ advice, government advice, community advice. Reports were that people were dying like flies. I was told I was high-risk.
I had my first on 15 June ‘21 and had an immediate reaction, within seconds. My blood pressure spiked and then dropped, I was short of breath and had difficulty breathing, felt nauseous, had hot and cold chills, almost fainted, started shaking, had stomach cramps and a headache, brain fog, and blisters appeared on my lips. I had apparently experienced anaphylaxis.
I was kept under observation at the centre for about 3 hours until I was stable enough to go home. I was unwell for seven days post and took approx. 15 days to feel normal again.
After my , I reported my reaction via the Medsafety app on that day, and a report was submitted to SAHPRA (South African Health Products Regulatory Authority).
I visited my GP a week later (22 June ‘21). That was the soonest I felt able to drive to his practise, which is 80km away and I had to drive myself as my husband was away.
My GP treated me for the blisters inside and outside my mouth with treatments for thrush. When that didn’t work, he tried other medications, such as cortisone, etc. Nothing worked. I had severe muscle and joint aches. He gave me a cortisone injection, which didn’t really help.
We discussed the second and I told him that I didn’t want it at all. He made further investigations regarding the adverse reaction I experienced and followed up with a phone call to me the next day, offering to make safe arrangements to administer my second . He stated that he was going to be in the nearby vicinity and could be called on to assist in the event of an emergency. I had come across an article that there was a skin test to check for a reaction to the one component of the , and I enquired about it. But there was no skin test available at the time.
A week after my doctor’s appointment, I was still struggling with headaches, blurred vision, anxiety, low blood pressure, and shortness of breath. I also started experiencing panic attacks.
On 14 July ‘21, I received an email from the Western Cape Health Department acknowledging receipt of my report and advising me to hold off on the second until my GP had discussed my case with a specialist at an allergy centre. A day before my second was scheduled (26 July ‘21), the specialist emailed confirmation to my GP, the health department and myself that “the second can be safely administered” in increments of 10% of the dose via a drip in a medically controlled environment. I reluctantly went to my next appointment.
On 27 July 21, I presented myself at the centre. My GP was there to administer the drip, and then he left the centre. The sister on duty administered a one-tenth dose of the .
Within seconds I experienced the following:
- A burning sensation all the way down my arm from site of injection.
- A sensation which ran like a wave from my neck to my abdomen, which felt like freezing cold liquid under the skin.
- Extreme light-headedness, shortness of breath.
- Anxiety, restlessness.
- Drop in body temperature. Chills.
- Tightness in my chest.
- Dull ache in my abdomen and lower back, like cramps.
The sister administered oxygen and checked my blood pressure. My GP was called immediately at the first sign of distress and arrived to check me over. He gave me a mild sedative. Just over an hour later I was moved to my GP’s surgery in town for further observation. I rested at the practice for about another hour, still on the drip, until I felt well enough to go home.
Over a year later and I still experience some of the ailments and chronic pain in my abdomen and lower back. It doesn’t feel like anyone acknowledges the possibility that I might be injured.
After numerous visits to try treat my various ailments and my lip and mouth condition, my doctor suggested that I might have Steven Johnson syndrome.
I gave up on conventional medicine about 6 months ago and started doing my own research. I discovered Tumeric root and managed to find an organic grower. I have had life changing results from eating this incredible inflammation fighting superfood daily! I grate about 1 tablespoon and add a pinch of fresh ground black pepper to it. I add it to anything I am cooking or to raw salads. It’s been a miracle cure for my chronic pain. If I forget to take it (if I’m away from home) pain starts creeping back.
My message to the world is: Question everything! Never allow yourself to be used for a medical experiment! The consequences and repercussions of injury are still unknown, and I believe that millions of people are suffering in some form or other as a direct result of post illness and post . Only time will show what the real damage is that has been done. As long as the medical fraternity is in denial of the medical decline, mental and physical, that human beings are facing post , the world will not be able to initiate meaningful healing for those who have been injured.
Jo has a passion for life and helping where she sees a need.
During hard lockdown she started an initiative feeding dogs in disadvantaged communities. She did this on her own, driving approx. 70 km, three times a week, feeding around 600 dogs, and educating dog owners in pet care. She also managed to get treatment for mange and medications for other ailments some dogs had. Jo describes this project as “heartbreaking but fulfilling to have been able to make a little bit of difference to the extreme suffering of pets from very poor households where families could barely feed themselves during , and where their pets had no chance”. Unfortunately, Jo had to give up this project after she got .
Although Jo had experienced a similar, but milder, reaction when she had multiple injections for a root canal treatment at a dentist’s surgery, her response to the was more severe.
Jo also bravely shared at the recent SA VAERS Conference held in September this year: https://rumble.com/v1ra8ju-savaers-conference-10th-september-2022-dennis-themba-and-joanne-attenboroug.html.