In a submission to an ongoing parliamentary inquiry into long COVID, Phelps, a former president of the Australian Medical Association, also accused government health regulators of censoring discussion about vaccine side effects.
She testified that her wife, Jackie Stricker-Phelps “suffered a severe neurological reaction to her first Pfizer vaccine within minutes,” and continues to suffer ongoing neurological symptoms, musculoskeletal inflammation and fatigue.
Phelps also was diagnosed with vaccine injuries, including intermittent fevers and cardiovascular issues, following her second Pfizer dose in July 2021.
She reported both of their reactions to the Therapeutic Goods Administration, the government agency that oversees vaccine safety, but no one at the agency followed up, she said.
Phelps told regulators she’s “spoken with other doctors who have themselves experienced a serious and persistent adverse event including cardiological, rheumatological, autoimmune reactions and neurological consequences,” but “vaccine injury is a subject that few in the medical profession have wanted to talk about.”
“Regulators of the medical profession have censored public discussion about adverse events following immunisation, with threats to doctors not to make any public statements about anything that ‘might undermine the government’s vaccine rollout’ or risk suspension or loss of their registration,’” she wrote.
In March 2021, the Australian Health Practitioners Regulation Agency (AHPRA) and National Medical Boards issued a joint statement advising doctors not to “undermine” the national vaccine rollout.
“Any promotion of anti-vaccination statements or health advice which contradicts the best available scientific evidence or seeks to actively undermine the national immunisation campaign … may be in breach of the codes of conduct [and] subject to investigation and possible regulatory action,” the statement said.
AHPRA denied the statement inhibited doctors from performing their duties for patient care.
Phelps joins a growing number of high-profile physicians worldwide, including British cardiologist Dr. Aseem Malhotra and oncologist Dr. Angus Dalgleish, who have turned against the vaccines after publicly supporting them, according to former New York Times reporter Alex Berenson.
Campbell Newman, former Queensland premier, called Phelps’ submission to the inquiry a “watershed moment,” because Phelps had previously been a strong and public vaccine advocate.
Beginning in 2020, Australia instituted some of the most “draconian” lockdown, vaccination and mask regulations in the world. Phelps supported these measures, but now is calling for more nuanced policies.
She wrote that the response to the pandemic could not be a “vaccine only” approach and must include better ventilation in schools and improved public health messaging.
“People who have vaccine injuries are not anti-vaxxers, because they have turned up to have vaccines,” Phelps told The Sydney Morning Herald. “They’re wanting to protect themselves against the serious consequences of COVID.”
She noted in her submission that many of the symptoms that vaccine-injured people experience are similar to long COVID and she called for research into both conditions.
According to The Sydney Morning Herald, since December 2021, vaccine-injured people have been able to make a claim for compensation through the country’s COVID-19 Vaccine Claims Scheme. As of Nov. 23, the department had received 3,100 applications and approved 79 claims totaling $3.9 million.