Isaiah Harris, an 18-year-old student and athlete from Arkansas in the U.S., was hospitalised a day after his second dose of the Pfizer vaccine and while in the waiting room for several hours had a heart attack. His parents reported to Children’s Health Defense that doctors at the hospital had downplayed his symptoms and denied that it was due to the vaccine.

Isaiah said he received his first dose of Pfizer on 8 April and his second dose on 30 April, and within hours of getting his second shot of the experimental vaccine, he developed a fever and chills.

Justin Harris, the teenager’s father, said he didn’t pay much attention to his son’s symptoms because he himself had had symptoms after the second dose of the Moderna vaccine, although they were mild. But that was not the case with his son. 

Within 48 hours of receiving the second dose, Isaiah’s heart began to ache badly, and his father knew the situation was getting worse when his son began to have difficulty breathing. 

Justin recounted the terrifying hours he and his wife spent after rushing their son to a local hospital. 

“We waited in the waiting room for over two hours and then they left him in a hallway for six hours,” he said, noting that the hospital did not take his son’s symptoms seriously. It was during that interminable wait that the teenager took a turn for the worse, and “he had his heart attack and one of his lungs filled up with fluid.” the father explained.

Justin said his wife told the staff that his son was having a heart attack, to get him into a room and do an electrocardiogram. 

Doctors reported that 80 percent of the young man’s heart was swollen, and only 40 percent was functioning and confirmed that he had suffered a heart attack. But, Justin said, they didn’t want to say it could be due to the vaccine, “They didn’t want to say it was that,” he said.

Isaiah was hospitalised for four days for acute myocarditis, and according to his father, the hospital doctors only said his son required “six months of total bed rest with medication to numb his heart”. 

Not satisfied with these doctors’ directives, Justin said he contacted the Arkansas surgeon general, who provided the link to the CDC’s Vaccine Adverse Event Reporting System (VAERS), because “the hospital did nothing,” he said.

Myocarditis is an inflammation of the heart muscle that can lead to cardiac arrhythmia and death. According to researchers at the National Organization for Rare Diseases, myocarditis can result from infections, but “more commonly the myocarditis is a result of the body’s immune reaction to the initial heart damage.”

Isaiah, who said he had no pre-existing conditions before suffering the heart attack, said his condition right now is better than it was, but he still has some pain.

“The swelling has gone down,” Isaiah said, “I used to lift every day but for three to six  months I cannot do any physical activity. The most I can do is walk my dog. If I get my heart rate up, it can reoccur and I could have another heart attack.”

His father Justin said he thought he was doing the right thing, but now he is overcome with guilt.

“My wife didn’t want him to get vaccinated and as a dad, I wanted him to because Isaiah is very outgoing and he’s getting ready to enter pharmaceutical school at UAMS and I wanted him to be safe.”

He added, “But I have an overwhelming guilt that I set up the appointment for Isaiah and encouraged him to go get it, even though he made his own choice. I helped him get the vaccine. I think as parents, maybe we need to step back and help educate ourselves and others. That’s why we finally shared his story—to educate people.

Isaiah stated, “I believe President Biden said in a recent statement that if you aren’t vaccinated, you’ll end up paying the price or you’ll have to wear a mask, but I’d rather have COVID than a heart attack,” he concluded.

According to numbers reported by VAERS, the number of adverse events reported in the last week, released June 18 by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), among all age groups following COVID vaccines exceeded 350,000. 

Meanwhile, the latest VAERS data following COVID vaccination between 14 December 2020 and 11 June 2021 recorded 1117 cases of myocarditis and pericarditis (inflammation of the heart) in all age groups in the US. And of the 1117 reported cases, 686 cases were attributed to Pfizer, 391 cases to Moderna, and 36 cases to Johnson & Johnson’s COVID vaccine.

While data from the same period for 12-17 year olds show 6,332 adverse events in total, including 271 classified as serious and seven deaths.