In total, 2,463 Canadians are known to have suffered adverse events of special interest linked to COVID-19 vaccines, according to the Public Health Agency of Canada.
It started just days after she received her second dose of Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine. Red, blistering spots that were painful and burned began showing up on her legs. Within weeks, she was in the hospital, unable to walk because of the pain.
Sixty-one-year-old Bonnie Keefe of Renfrew is one of about a dozen Canadians believed to have suffered from cutaneous vasculitis — inflammation of small blood vessels that can cause painful skin lesions — most likely associated with a COVID-19 vaccination.
It is considered an “adverse event of special interest” by the Public Health Agency of Canada, which tracks all adverse reactions to the vaccines — serious and less serious.
Such reactions are rare and evidence grows daily about how well the vaccines work at preventing serious illness and hospitalization from COVID-19.
But that is little comfort to Keefe.
She doesn’t want to discourage people from getting vaccinated. “I am just one of those cases that fell through the cracks.” But she does want people to know just how serious those rare reactions can be.
“I cry every night,” Keefe said.
“I just wish I could be in less pain.”
In total, 2,463 Canadians are known to have suffered adverse events of special interest linked to COVID-19 vaccines, according to the Public Health Agency of Canada. Myocarditis and pericarditis — inflammation of the heart muscle or lining of the heart — have been the most common serious adverse events, affecting 557 people.
Those serious reactions are out of nearly 27 million Canadians who have received at least one dose of a COVID-19 vaccine. Adverse events are rare and the risks from COVID-19 — especially now that the Delta variant is dominant — are great.
A recent Israeli study, for example, found that myocarditis is more common after COVID-19 than after a Pfizer vaccine. The COVID-19 vaccine from Pfizer has been linked to an increased risk of myocarditis and pericarditis. But the risk from an infection is higher.
Some fear that focusing attention on adverse reactions could increase vaccine hesitancy.
Keefe said she was initially told by a local public health worker not to talk to the media about her case. That worker later apologized and the region’s medical officer of health, Dr. Robert Cushman, emphasized that she should feel free to talk about her experience.
Bonnie Keefe said she was initially told by a local public health worker not to talk to the media about her case. That worker later apologized and the region’s medical officer of health emphasized that she should feel free to talk about her experience.
Dr. Kumanan Wilson, a senior researcher at The Ottawa Hospital with a specialty in immunization, has been among those long advocating for Canada to introduce a compensation system for vaccine injury, something the Canadian government finally did partway through the pandemic.
"It is important to acknowledge that rare adverse vaccine reactions happen sometimes and to support people who are affected," said Dr. Kumanan Wilson, a senior researcher at The Ottawa Hospital with a specialty in immunization.
Editors Note: Dr Wilson and his wife are also officers of CANImmunize Inc, which is currently under investigation by Covfefe Operations + Intelligence for conspiracy to commit fraud on the public. Dr Wilson and his wife Kim Barnhardt have SLAPP'd CovfefeOps for the investigation with the claim detailed in Kumar and Kimberlina vs Chad and our response is detailed in the related articles.
Wilson has been among those long advocating for Canada to introduce a compensation system for vaccine injury, something the Canadian government finally did partway through the pandemic. Until then, Canada was the only G7 country without one, although Quebec has its own system. Information is available at vaccineinjurysupport.ca/en.
Editor's Note: Dr Wilson is chair of CANImmunize Inc and penned a paper for CMAJ entitled
Implementing digital passports for SARS-CoV-2 immunization in Canada as Dr Wilson's wife is employed by CANImmunize and CMAJ, and apparently that's "okay"?.
They have not declared this conflict of interest.
- “Now, more than ever, we need this program,” Wilson said. “We are not just getting the vaccine for ourselves, we are getting it to protect society.” That is increasingly true as growing numbers of organizations and governments introduce vaccination mandates.
- “In a situation where you are expected to get vaccinated not just for you, but for others, if you get injured in the process, you have a right to compensation.”