Seven News reporter Denham Hitchcock is suffering from a heart condition as an extremely rare side effect of the Pfizer coronavirus vaccine.
The investigative journalist said he has pericarditis – inflammation of a sac-like tissue that surrounds the heart that holds it in place and helps it function.
Hitchcock claims the condition was caused by his first shot of the Pfizer vaccine, and called on the government to ‘keep your damn promise’ on opening up the world.
‘I’ve battled over whether to send this post from hospital or not. But decided after 27 years of being a journalist who’s primary goal is to discover the truth – it would be hypocritical not to,’ he wrote on Instagram.
‘I’m NOT anti-vax. But I’m really not pro-vax either. I’m pro-choice – and pro-information to make that choice.
‘Probably a little late to hospital – but here I am – diagnosed with pericarditis – or inflammation of the heart due to the Pfizer vaccine.’
Hitchcock made the post from his hospital bed in Gold Coast University Hospital on Thursday morning, 25 days after he received the shot.
He said at first he was experiencing a racing heart, pins and needles, and dizziness, but continued on thinking they were normal side effects.
After three weeks he was still suffering from severe symptoms, including sharp chest pain, chills, and the dizziness had become extreme.
Hitchcock, who’s Instagram is littered with pictures of him being active, participating in extreme sports and showing off his trim figure, said the condition was not being spoken about enough.
‘Since being here I’ve contacted health professionals I know in Sydney and while It’s rare – it’s certainly not isolated,’ he said.
‘One hospital has had well over a dozen cases like me.’
Pericarditis and myocarditis have been observed in an extremely small number of people after they receiving mRNA vaccines, of which Pfizer is one.
The cases were disproportionately men and teenagers under the age of 30 after their second dose of the jab.
British data released on Monday found the rate of pericarditis was 3.8 cases per 1million doses of the Pfizer shot.
The rate is higher from the Moderna vaccine, at 13 cases, which Prime Minister Scott Morrison announced he has ordered to arrive in the country before the end of the year.
By July 8, the TGA was notified of 50 cases of pericarditis in Australia as a result of 3.2 million Pfizer doses.
‘In the current vaccine frenzy, no one is talking about this but it’s clearly happening,’ Hitchcock said.
‘If you want the vaccine and have any heart history it would be worth talking to your GP about your vaccine choice, especially as AZ is readily available and does not have this side effect.’
The Channel 7 reporter said he wasn’t discouraging people to get the Pfizer vaccine, rather to evaluate their choices, but recognised that unvaccinated people would be prevented from travel in the future.
‘Above all I’m PRO opening the bloody country up and to do that I don’t see any way around getting the majority of Australia vaccinated,’ he said.
‘If you don’t want the vaccine – I don’t have a problem with that either – [fine], but life and travel will get difficult for you.
‘The only thing for me that’s dead certain – if they don’t open Australia up when we reach their milestone of  per cent – then there will be a lot more people marching in the street. You want the trust? Keep your damn promise.’
Professor Jason Kovacic, the Executive Director of the Victor Change Cardiac Research Institute, told Daily Mail Australia pericarditis can happen after Covid vaccines but only in ‘very, very rare’ cases.
‘COVID-19 vaccines can cause specific heart problems such as myocarditis and pericarditis, and particularly in males less than 30 years of age – but only very, very rarely,’ Professor Kovacic said.
‘About 60 people per one million can get myocarditis with the mRNA vaccines (Pfizer and Moderna) and it is generally a mild, short-lived illness. These complications cause inflammation of the heart muscle or inflammation of the lining around the heart muscle.
‘These complications have been reported in just a handful of people around the world and to the best of our knowledge most of them have recovered.’
Professor Kovacic said the risks of getting heart conditions as a result of Covid are much higher, and that the vaccine is the best safeguard to preventing these illnesses.
‘In contrast, the risk of having some form of heart complications if you contract COVID-19 is about 1000 times higher at ~5-10%,’ he said.
‘A very recent observational study has shown that young males infected with the virus are up to six times more likely to develop myocarditis as opposed to those who received the vaccine.
‘COVID-19 vaccines are incredibly safe and incredibly effective at preventing people from getting seriously unwell with COVID-19 infection.