I’d like to tell you why I’m ineligible for a vaccine passport
This First Person column is written by Codi Darnell, who had an adverse reaction to the COVID-19 vaccine. For more information about CBC’s First Person stories, please see the FAQ.
Like most Canadians, I was eager for the COVID 19 vaccine rollout — it was our way out of the pandemic and back to normalcy. At 33 years old, with no reason to be prioritized, I was not first in line. While I waited my turn, I watched the process unfold. First, my husband, who works in health care, got his first dose.
As the age priority system worked its way down the line, my parents, in-laws, friends and siblings followed suit. It was May when I got the text that I was free to go forward and book my own first dose at a vaccine clinic.
The jab itself was painless. But within 10 minutes of my mandatory post-shot waiting period, my tongue felt thick and tingled as though I had devoured multiple bags of salt and vinegar chips. I quickly lost the ability to swallow and became dizzy.
A doctor then put a shot of epinephrine into my leg as I lay behind the observation curtain of the vaccination centre. And as I lay there, convulsing from the adrenaline coursing through my body, the doctor said, “You’ll probably have to have your second dose at a hospital.”
Everything seemed to stop at that moment. I blinked, sure that he was joking but also struck by the earnest look on his face that suggested otherwise. I half-grimaced through chattering teeth and said “It’s cute that you think I’m going to do this again.” That was when the ambulance showed up.
Four hours and one ugly IV-induced bruise later I was discharged from the emergency room. Exhausted and in a fog of disbelief, I went home, resolved to be a permanently single-vaxxed member of society.
Not because I’m an anti-vaxxer.
All my other vaccinations are up to date and everyone in my family, from my husband to my siblings, went on to get double dosed against COVID just as planned. But I’m content to be single-vaxxed because I had a severe allergic reaction that required medical intervention.
And, at least in my experiences, we don’t often ask people to inject their allergens directly into their bodies. In fact, we actively try to avoid such things, which is why I didn’t think having only one dose would become an issue.