“The Testimonies Project: Testimonies after COVID-19 vaccination” (The Israeli People’s Committee, 2021)
In early 2021 the Israeli government began a drive to get as many Israeli adults as possible vaccinated against COVID-19 after the then Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu signed an agreement with Pfizer Inc for that company to supply vaccines to Israel. Since then, Israel has achieved one of the highest COVID-19 vaccination rates with (as of 26 June 2021) 64% of eligible adults having received their first shots and 60% of eligible adults being fully vaccinated. Israel’s efforts to have its population inoculated against COVID-19 have been hailed by the global mainstream news media as a great success.
As far as I am aware the Israeli Ministry of Health is not collecting statistics or any other information on the possible side effects of the Pfizer / BioNTech mRNA vaccine against COVID-19 or of the other vaccine (the Moderna mRNA vaccine) used in Israel. An independent organisation, the Israeli People’s Committee (IPC) is collecting such information and people’s accounts of their experiences. The Testimonies Project platform is one of the IPC’s initiatives to gather in video format stories from people who have suffered adverse reactions, many of these serious and life-threatening, to the vaccines so that they can at least be seen and heard by others. The video can be viewed with English-language sub-titles at this link.
The interviews are organised in groups according to the nature of the reactions experienced which range from cardiac problems (myocarditis, pericarditis and other heart issues) to severe menstrual bleeding, miscarriages, neurological problems, skin problems including shingles, and flare-ups of other diseases. Many interviewees mention that they took the shots under duress from employers who threatened to fire them if they remained unvaccinated. There are also some distressing reports of the lack of sympathy or help from doctors and other medical professionals towards people needing help and prompt attention. Several interviewees declare that they will not allow their children to receive the vaccines.
The stories are often heart-breaking and perhaps the saddest of them all comes near the end where a man tells of the surgeries his wife had to have to remove fluids from her brain; the surgeries were ultimately unsuccessful and the wife died. What is perhaps most incredible is that there appears to be no suggestion in the patients’ stories of doctors, nurses or other medical professionals being willing to report patients’ problems to appropriate authorities. A theme that recurs is of these professionals being reluctant or even refusing to consider that many of the patients’ health issues may be linked to the vaccines if not caused by them.
The Testimonies Project currently appears to exist mainly to collect and archive individual accounts of health issues arising from the COVID-19 vaccines used in Israel. The film does not provide the context in which the Israeli government made its agreement with Pfizer Inc to purchase and use the company’s vaccines. Nor does it say if Palestinians received or were allowed to receive any of these vaccines. The interviewees do not say if they have future plans to take legal action against the Israeli government or any other parties involved in the supply, distribution and handling of the vaccines (including the way vaccines were injected into people’s arms and whether aspiration of the needle was used or not). This omission, whether intended or not, does make watching the film much harder than it could be; for many of the interviewees, their health problems are permanent and they may not live long enough to obtain relief or justice for their injuries and suffering. Perhaps at a future date the reports and stories collected may serve as evidence in a future legal action or as a foundation for a class action against the Israeli government or Pfizer Inc.
The film is important viewing for everyone who is facing the difficult decision of whether to accept vaccination with any of the COVID-19 vaccines, especially the mRNA vaccines supplied by Pfizer and Moderna; or who has already had one or both of these vaccines.