Did the Covid Vaccine Give Me Covid Brain?

The vaccine seems to have permanently impacted my brain, is this typical?

Photo by Usman Yousaf on Unsplash

I used to never get headaches. I’ve gone basically the entirety of my 42 years on planet Earth without this affliction that affects so many others on a routine basis, and for that I have been lucky. Yes, occasionally I’ve had a headache brought on by the obvious causes: lack of caffeine, hangovers, over-exertion during hot summer days. And when I was younger, I would sometimes get migraines due to my horrible vision.

But these were all fairly rare occurrences, and easily diagnosed and treated. Until recently. Now, I am suffering through headaches on a daily basis. My brain and my perception feels fogged, in a perpetual state of wooziness, and on the cusp of a migraine building behind my eyes. I have trouble thinking clearly, recalling information, and focusing on my surroundings. I actually feel mildly drunk.

Even writing this down is a struggle for me, because while words used to come fluidly to my mind, now I am having to really concentrate to find the phrases I am looking for. I’m eating ibuprofen and acetaminophen like candy, and it barely puts a dent in it. What changed, you ask? I got the Covid vaccine.

The first dose of the vaccine I received was in March, on the 12th. I got the Pfizer version, administered at my local Walmart. Of course reactions to the vaccine vary, seemingly down to the individual. After the first dose, I experienced the typical sore arm, two days of intense fatigue and body aches, and a pounding headache.

The headache mostly subsided after three days, but my brain still routinely felt on the verge of it coming back and I did start getting them a bit more often than usual. I found myself often during the workday now needing to take Tylenol or something to suppress the headache that was beginning to pulse between my ears. I also noticed an increased presence of tinnitus.

Something just didn’t seem right with my brain. I began to wonder if I should go ahead and get the second dose. But my wife convinced me I was over analyzing it and that I needed to be fully protected against the covid virus. I have also always been a proponent of advancements in medical science, and wanted to do my part to show I support the research and treatment meant to stop the pandemic. This pandemic has been awful for everyone, so many people have died, and I just want it to be over.

I got the second dose of the vaccine on April 12th. Again, I went through a brief reaction period. For two days after the injection, I had extreme fatigue, body aches, joint pain, and the second day I had a pretty rough bout with a fever that wracked my body with chills. These are of course all signs that my body is being taught to fight the covid virus. And again, I experienced an awful, throbbing headache that never seemed to go away. This time it was worse.

Currently, it’s five days after the injection. While the other symptoms of my reaction have disappeared, the effects it has had on my brain have not. Every day I am waking up with a horrible headache, and that wooziness of my perceptions. I feel unsteady, and unable to concentrate. I feel mildly intoxicated. Generally, I like to be in control of my own perceptions. Now, I am not. And I am beginning to worry I may be taking so much OTC pain reliever that I am going to damage my liver.

I am beginning to worry that this is going to last forever. I’ve heard horror stories of people who have had covid having something called “covid brain” where they are seemingly permanently dealing with issues of brain fog after having had the virus. I am beginning to worry that this vaccine has somehow brought out this similar affect on my own brain.

The long-term affects of these vaccines are of course still being studied. I do not want to frighten anyone into not getting the vaccine. Surely these results are atypical, but I would like to hear if anyone else is experiencing the same side effects after having theirs. Obviously there have been the extremely rare serious reactions, some of which recently caused the Johnson & Johnson vaccine to be halted from distribution, and similarly had the AstraZeneca version under heightened scrutiny.

These effects I am experiencing might seem mild to others, and therefore may not be as widely reported. But for someone like me, a creative writer, they are extremely worrisome. I need to be in control of my own brain. I need to have access to my brain’s ability to recall words and information. Basically, in order to be at my best creatively, I need my brain to be healthy and functional. I can’t stare at a computer and write for hours while trying to suffer through a headache, and struggling every other sentence to remember or recall the phrase I am searching for. I can’t focus and read new work, and retain what I have read, if I am trying to do so through a fog of an uninduced altered state.

I need my mind clear!

And now, they are telling us we may need to get booster shots of this injection every six months? I must admit, if I have this side effect to look forward to after every dose, and I now know the possibility that the side effect will worsen, I am extremely hesitant to sign up for it.

Please, tell me your experience here. Am I alone? Am I over-reacting? Because unless these symptoms go away soon, honestly, I may lose my mind.

Provocative truth teller, author of 14 poetry collections. Cat dad. Dog dad. Currently working from Portland, Oregon. Learn more at: Jaysizemore.com.

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