"In this COVID era the saying ‘No Jab, No Job’ has become common place around New Zealand and around the world. But Sarah Carter’s story is different. Her story is one of ‘Jab, No Job’... Within two days of receiving the COVID jab Sarah began feeling major discomfort and pain in her chest and heart, which has been the most common adverse reaction to the Pfizer COVID vaccine. As well as the chest and heart pain she had a general feeling of not being at all right."
By Peter Drew
In this COVID era the saying ‘No Jab, No Job’ has become common place around New Zealand and around the world. But Sarah Carter’s story is different. Her story is one of ‘Jab, No Job’.
Sarah’s story is worth listening to whether you are jabbed or un-jabbed, and whether you are pro vaccine, anti-vaccine, pro-choice, or pro wait and see. Whatever your position on these things, Sarah’s story highlights some of what can only be described as inhumane elements and shortcomings of the current COVID vaccine policies of the NZ government. In Sarah’s own words, she did everything that the government asked her to do, and now she is not only badly health compromised, but she cannot work and she has been banned from many of the most basic elements of society through medical apartheid.
This is Sarah’s story, and she is very quick to point out that she is well aware that there are many other fellow Kiwis who are in a much worse situation than her through similar circumstances and that she feels they are more deserving of being heard. But she feels that if her story can help even one other person then she wants to tell it.
In 2020 Sarah was loving her work as a NZ Tour Guide. A high energy and positive person loving life, she was very popular with her adventure loving clients from abroad. Then COVID hit and had a devastating impact on all tourist driven industries, including the Coach Tours that Sarah was leading on. Sarah took this challenge in her stride and her positive mind set and people skills enabled her to shift careers and move into the health sector working in Mental Health support work. Then in late 2021 the NZ government announced that the health sector was mandated for all staff to be fully vaccinated, with the first jab required by November 15th. Sarah was reluctant to take the jab due to the uncertainty around the experimental nature of the COVID vaccines, but eventually she did take the first jab in order to keep her job.
That is where Sarah’s story unfortunately takes a rapid downward turn. Within two days of receiving the COVID jab Sarah began feeling major discomfort and pain in her chest and heart, which has been the most common adverse reaction to the Pfizer COVID vaccine. As well as the chest and heart pain she had a general feeling of not being at all right. She kept going with life as best she could despite the symptoms and discomfort, but two weeks later she passed out unconscious. She received ECG tests on her heart and various other tests but she was given no conclusive diagnosis other than it was probably just caused by an ear infection. Meanwhile Sarah was completely wiped out and in her words felt like she had been hit by a truck. She is still feeling that way and weeks later she now struggles just to walk to the shop down the road. She knows her body and she knows that there is something very wrong with it.
As Sarah has only received one COVID jab she is not eligible to return to working in the health sector and despite her very serious adverse reaction to the first COVID jab she does not meet the extremely narrow, virtually non-existent criteria for a government authorized medical exemption which would be required to return to working in the health sector. Sarah has just tried to take up a new short term seasonal job working at a nearby camping ground, however this is a major battle for her due to her severely depleted physical condition. She will battle on as best she can for the next few weeks after which she currently does not have any viable employment options. She is physically very limited in what she can do, and because she is technically ‘unvaccinated’ her employment options will be very limited.
No one is liable for Sarah’s situation. Pfizer refused to sign contracts with any countries unless they were fully exempt from any liability due to adverse reactions from their vaccines, and the NZ government is seemingly also not liable. Everyone just seems to wash their legal and moral hands of these situations that Sarah and many other Kiwis are victims of.
To rub enormous salt into Sarah’s wounds, the NZ vaccine passport system means that Sarah is now also effectively banned from many of the most fundamental elements of normal NZ society because she has only received one jab. She now can’t have a coffee down at the café, or catch up with friends for a drink at a bar, or have a meal at a restaurant, or book a room for a trip, or even get a haircut. Through absolutely no fault of her own, not only has Sarah’s long term health been significantly compromised, but Sarah is now battling to be able to obtain or do any kind of work, and she has effectively been made a second class citizen in her own country and locked out of society. This is such an enormous turn-around from that positive, high energy Kiwi in 2020 who was taking great delight in showing off her beautiful country to all those visitors from abroad.
Sarah listened to the NZ government saying that the vaccines were safe and effective and she did what the government told her to do. Now her world has completely collapsed around her and no one is liable or even interested in listening to her or supporting her. The ‘let’s be kind to each other’ and the ‘one team of five million’ doesn’t seem to apply to people like Sarah. In her own words “I’m really hurting, other humans are really hurting and are just being dismissed. It just seems so unjust and unethical”.
It sure does seem pretty unjust and unethical. It doesn’t feel right. It doesn’t feel like this is how New Zealand should be. This is not the New Zealand way. Wherever there is risk, there should also be choice. Whatever people’s opinions are on vaccines and the COVID vaccine, Sarah’s story should be of enormous concern for our country and for all Kiwis.
Photo by CDC on Unsplash