Kate Zerby, Vaccine Survivor

Imagine writing your political representative about being injured from the COVID-19 vaccine and receiving a form letter in response, explaining that the vaccine is safe and very important for everyone to get. Would you feel your concerns were being heard?

Welcome to the world of St. Paul, MN, resident Kate Zerby—and that of others injured by the COVID-19 vaccines as well. At this early stage, these vaccine-injured individuals are simply trying to be heard by health and government officials.

Kate, 59, a teacher for deaf and hard of hearing students, got the Moderna COVID-19 vaccine in February 2021, and quickly began to have an adverse reaction. Twelve hours after getting the shot, she awoke at 3:30 a.m. feeling strange.

Kate Zerby post-vaccine

“I awoke with this feeling of foreboding … I sat straight up in bed and said to myself, ‘What’s going on?’” Kate said, adding she then had an unsettling thought: “If you get the vaccine again, you will die.”

A day after getting the jab, Kate came down with a fever and sore neck, along with a severe migraine headache that ended up lasting three days.

“The arm where I got the shot swelled up. I felt dizzy and really sick,” she said.

She developed severe tinnitus (seven on a 10-point scale), as well as regular dizziness, severe head pressure, and vertigo. “It was like my head was in a vise,” Kate said.

Despite these troubles, she considers herself one of the “lucky” folks who’ve had an adverse COVID vaccine reaction. She’s still able to work, unlike many of the other vaccine-injured.

Even so, since getting the vaccine, she’s found she has an abnormal EKG, an abnormal heartbeat, and atrial fibrillation. She finds it scary to have these new health problems and they have significantly impacted her activities. Pre-jab, she was very active. A vegan, Kate used to regularly hike and canoe and even carry her canoe. Now, she has trouble walking up stairs without her heart acting funny.

All of this, and yet, she asked for it. Kate wanted to get the vaccine.

“When I got the vaccine I’d been wanting it for a while and had been frustrated that others were getting theirs first,” Kate said. “I was worried I wouldn’t be able to teach my students. And I like to travel.”

But travel for Kate isn’t as likely, or as easy as before. She speaks fluent French and likes to visit France. Yet because of her illness, she only has one dose of the vaccine, which technically makes her unvaccinated, thereby limiting her ability to travel. Indeed, she almost doubled up on the damage she’d done to herself by getting a second dose of the vaccine. But she felt dizzy that day and didn’t go for the shot.

But she has bigger worries than not being able to travel. Kate wonders if amyloidosis is the cause of her heart problems. The two have been associated in other vaccine-injured folks, she’s read. She notes that there has been a suggestion by a PhD researcher that amyloidosis could be the cause of nearly all vaccine injuries, which could imply further damage as time goes on.

Kate has felt stymied in her efforts to get health professionals to openly connect her symptoms to getting the vaccine.

“There’s a concerted effort to shut down any dialogue about adverse events related to the COVID-19 vaccine,” Kate said. “I was super happy to get my vaccine—little did I know.”

Kate considers herself lucky that she got a vaccine exemption and can still work. Many other vaccine-injured folks don’t have an exemption or are too sick to work.

One final irony: In December 2021, Kate contracted COVID-19—from a fully vaccinated person. She has the COVID-19 antibodies to prove she had it, too.

Going through so much adversity simply because she tried to do what she thought was the right thing in getting the vaccine, it’d be tough to blame Kate if she felt very bitter about her circumstances. But she’s not.

“I believe in God, and I feel so much closer to God than before [the vaccine],” Kate said. “There are so many things that have fallen into place. … For me, I know my illness is not random; I know God allowed it and I’m okay with that. It’s built my trust that God is there for me.”

She may be less certain about her fellow man than before the jab, but she’s not losing hope. When Kate speaks publicly about her adverse COVID-19 vaccine reaction, she likes to quote Micah 6:8 from the Bible: “Do justice, love mercy, and walk humbly with God.”

“What He’s asking of you is simple. … God never promised that we would not suffer if we followed Him,” she said.

“The world is off its rails. … People don’t understand true justice and mercy. How can you know what mercy looks like if you don’t know what it is?” she said. “We are treating people like a walking disease.”

Image Credit: Kate Zerby