For the last two years Adam’s health has deteriorated dramatically (Picture: Supplied)

As a former physiotherapist to professional sportspeople, Adam Rowland knows the importance of staying well.

He used to train six times a week, has never smoked and rarely drinks. Now he can’t even walk on a treadmill for exercise

The dad of two worked with Warrington Wolves before he had to resign in November due to a raft of complicated health issues, which began a week after he queued up for his first Covid-19 vaccination – along with thousands of others – at his local rugby stadium in St Helens in February 2021. 

The first symptom was insomnia. ‘Every time I would go to drop off to sleep, my body would wake up in spasm and jerking,’ Adam, 48, tells ‘I couldn’t breathe and my heart would miss a few beats and do all this crazy stuff. It got so severe; it was happening around 20 times a night. I literally couldn’t lie flat in bed.’ 

Initially he put it down to anxiety and sought help from his GP, who told Adam he was experiencing panic attacks and gave him sleeping medication. 

Next, he started to forget the names of people he worked with, and had transient pains down his arms and legs. 

Then his symptoms worsened. 

Adam found himself unable to sleep for three to five days at a time, and he was signed off work for a month. 

Before being vaccinated, Adam was a physiotherapist to professional sportspeople (Picture: Supplied)

He remembers: ‘I felt depressed when my dad died in 2014, and this was not the same. It was frightening, but I had no reason to believe anything other than what the doctor was suggesting – that it was panic attacks.’  

His GP diagnosed depression and anxiety, and prescribed antidepressants

However, according to Adam, ‘That just made everything ten times worse.’ 

‘It just turned up the volume on all the symptoms; the spinning in my head, the palpitations in my heart. I didn’t know what was happening.’ 

He came off the tablets and spent more time off work. 

‘I just told them I don’t know what’s going on with me. They were very supportive – and after a month, gave me a phased return. But I never felt right. In the meantime, I went back to the doctor and he said he couldn’t find anything wrong.’

‘He was really nice,’ adds Adam, ‘but it felt scary because he didn’t know what to do. He referred me to a psychiatrist, because he thought it was stress, but I knew it wasn’t.’ 

Eventually, Adam was referred to a local mental health team and in May 2021 had the second AZ Covid vaccine. Around a week later, he started feeling even more terrible. 

‘I experienced chest pains and dizzy episodes like I was going to pass out,’ he recalls. ‘I ignored the pains for a week, but passed out when I tried to stand up from sitting. 

The dad of two had been in top physical condition (Picture: Supplied)

‘A few days later I was experiencing severe sweating and breathlessness. I felt like I was dying or having a heart attack, so I called an ambulance.’

Adam went to A&E where, following tests, he was told he was having a panic attack and sent home. Later that month, he experienced another dizzy episode and called a cardiologist work colleague who told him to go straight back to the emergency unit. 

This time, Adam was put into intensive care at Warrington Hospital where tests found he had a high D-Dimer (a protein fragment made when a blood clot dissolves in the body) count. A high count can mean you are at risk of a stroke, heart attack or pulmonary embolism. It can also be found in patients with long Covid

Adam says he wasn’t told about his D-Dimer count – he found out later from his medical notes. 

At the time, doctors thought he might have Brugada syndrome – a rare but serious condition that affects the way electrical signals pass through the heart.

Until this point, Adam had believed the vaccine was safe and effective. But after lying in bed suffering, night after night, something clicked. 

‘I thought – there’s something clearly not right. I’ve been so fit and well, and suddenly, I’ve got so many unbelievable symptoms; the tinnitus, the blurred vision, the rashes. This must be the vaccine.’ 

Eager to return to enjoying his life, Adam paid for private healthcare to try and improve his health (Picture: Supplied)

‘I told all the doctors and consultants I’d see that I’d been ill since having the vaccine – but they wouldn’t engage with that,’ he says. ‘If they had referred me to specialists then, I don’t think I would be where I am now.

‘I believe my body had been clotting from that point onward. But the clots weren’t picked up until June last year, and they’ve been doing untold damage all that time.’ 

Adam was kept in hospital on the acute high care coronary unit for a week, before being sent to a specialist heart and lung hospital.

Eager to get back to work and exercise – which had been so important to him – he wanted to make sure his heart was okay before he started again, Adam paid for private treatment so he could be seen more quickly. 

Doctors there were ‘bamboozled’, he says, and they sent him back to the GP for further tests. 

By autumn, Adam says he started to feel suicidal. Among other symptoms, he had cramping, weakness in his arms and hands, pins and needles and tremors – and no answers about what was happening to him.

‘I started to get adrenaline rushes while I was sitting relaxing – like I was being injected with terror,’ he explains. ‘I would experience severe vertigo sitting up, and my heart kept jumping in and out of arrhythmia. This would start every afternoon like clockwork, while I was sitting down and watching TV. The attacks would last for hours.

‘My brain felt like it was spinning constantly, and it was impossible to lie down to sleep. I developed marked yellowing of my eyeballs and skin and all-over itching. My left eyelid was drooping intermittently for a few days at a time. I was crying, but bizarrely no tears could come out.

‘By September I was starting to think about taking my own life,’ he admits. ‘I thought I was going crazy because doctors were saying there’s nothing wrong with me  – but by the week it was getting worse.

Over time, Adam got so ill he contemplated ending his life (Picture: Supplied)

‘I was on a carousel of being seen by different people; the GP could see there was seriously wrong, but didn’t know what to do. The specialist would say he couldn’t see anything wrong with my endocrinology, A&E would tell me it was panic and anxiety.’ 

Despite having taken care of himself all his life, by this point Adam couldn’t even walk on a treadmill for exercise and he cancelled his gym membership. His symptoms worsened and his appearance and wellbeing continued to go downhill. 

‘It’s the worst thing that’s ever happened to me,’ he says. ‘It’s stolen my whole identity. All of my adult life has been erased by this. It’s not just scary – for the first time in my life I’ve felt completely powerless over my own body and health. 

‘I’ve lost nearly two stone. My loved ones are shocked by my appearance. My 18-year-old daughter cries when she sees me. My friend who came to the hospital to visit me when I collapsed in May, cried and left the room because he couldn’t believe it was me. 

‘My daughter is at university now and I couldn’t even help her move her belongings into her halls of residence. I have another daughter, and I can’t even take her son, my grandson, to the park to push him on the swings.’ 

Adam has had to give up a job he loved and is now enlisting the help of a carer because he can’t look after himself. 

Adam had to take multiple trips to A&E (Picture: In Pictures via Getty)

He’s also moved out of the family home and in with his mother, after his marriage broke down. 

Following multiple A&E visits – one after he collapsed at home and was found by his nephew – last summer he was treated at a London hospital, which confirmed he had vaccine injury. 

As a phenomenon, vaccine injury is exceedingly rare. While the ONS does not record vaccine injury in the UK that doesn’t result in death, the Health Resources and Services Administration in the US claim around every one in a million doses of vaccine can result in injury. As of 22 February 2023, an estimated 40,622,659 people had received their third dose and/or at least one booster dose in the UK.

Severe adverse effects to the vaccine can include allergic reaction, temporary weakness or paralysis, neurological disorder, blood clotting events, immune problems and inflammation of the heart, as well as other conditions.

Patients are asked to record any problems, mild or severe, on the MHRA yellow card reporting system. In the period up to November last year, there were more than 444,000 reported adverse reactions of varying degrees of severity. 

What is vaccine injury?

‘Vaccine injury is classified as an adverse event following administration of a vaccination,’ Dr Suhail Hussain, a personal physician and private GP, tells ‘Serious adverse events can include anything from blood clots – pulmonary embolism to myocarditis and pericarditis (inflammation and infection around the heart) – to neurological problems such as strokes. Generally they are very rare occurrences as vaccine development is a thorough and extensive process.’

Adam was referred to another hospital nearer his home which diagnosed vaccine-mediated thrombotic vasculitis (inflammation of the blood vessels) and widespread vascular neuropathy (lack of blood supply to the nerves). 

He needs further tests and urgent treatment, but has been told he faces months of wait. He remains seriously ill, his muscles are wasting away and he is now experiencing frightening episodes where his throat closes up and he feels like he is choking. 

Adam was grateful to at last receive a concrete diagnosis – to know that he wasn’t going mad was a ‘huge relief’. But then it started to hit home how tenuous his future was. 

He says: ‘I thought at that point I would start to get better and get my life back, but then I realised they don’t understand what’s in the vaccine – it’s a new disease – then it hit home that they don’t know what they’re dealing with. 

Like most others, Adam got vaccinated in order to prevent passing Covid on to those who are vulnerable around you (Picture: Getty)

‘I am now disabled. I have constant chest pain. If I go outside and try to go to the shops or walk my dog, or do anything that we take for granted, I end up in agonising pain. I literally can’t move with the pain.

‘It feels like even someone has a hand around my heart and is squeezing it, like a vice. It’s a cramping, crushing, squeezing pain. It’s like being stabbed in the chest. And it’s crippled me mentally because I love being outside. It’s terrible.’ 

Adam stresses that he is not an anti-vaxxer; he got jabbed for the same reason as most people, so as not to pass Covid onto someone who could get seriously ill, or die. But in hindsight, he says he wishes he’d done more homework first.

‘I’ve got basic medical training. I managed the medical team and regularly worked with cardiologists and respiratory doctors in my sports club. If I’d done some proper research I wouldn’t have had it.’ 

‘I regret getting the vaccine. I hadn’t looked into it enough. I didn’t look into the testing or what was actually in the vaccine. I just wish I would have researched it.

Adam is hoping to take Warrington Hospital to court (Picture: PA)

‘Whenever you take a new medication, your doctor will give you a piece of paper with list of potential side effects. No-one ever gave me proper informed consent.’

Adam says he is now bringing a legal case against Warrington Hospital for medical negligence for allegedly failing to diagnose him early enough to get proper treatment and for failing to alert him about his D-dimer count. But he says the case will take years that he may not have. 

Despite being in bed for the last few months after catching Covid at Christmas, Adam is hoping to travel to the US to clear his small blood vessels – which he’s been told are as clogged as those of a 60-a-day smoker – and neurological work. So far, he’s raised £20,000 from friends and supporters and will use all his savings, but believes he needs another £15,000 to pay for flights, treatment and accommodation.

‘I want to live and I want to get better, he says. ‘But every day I feel like I’m dying. That’s not something I say lightly. I’m in so much pain and stuck in the house. But I know my body won’t be able to fight feeling like this for too long. You just don’t ever feel like a vaccine will do that to you.

‘A few times a week I think am I going to die in this moment? And it’s scary. And at other times I sort of accept it. I feel like I’m in mourning. I feel like I’m watching my own body fade away and I can’t do anything about it.’ 

‘This has depressed me. And it’s taken all my dignity away. For so long, I was told it was all in my head. That I was taking up a hospital bed when there’s nothing wrong with me. 

‘There needs to be a lot more research and investigation into vaccine-related injury. I don’t want future generations to go through what I’m going through.

‘The way I was treated, I wouldn’t wish it on another human being.’

Kimberley Salmon-Jamieson, Warrington Hospital’s chief nurse and deputy chief executive told ‘We were saddened to hear about Mr Rowland’s ongoing health issues. We have been notified of a request for his medical records by his solicitors and we are unable to comment further.’

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