A 21-year-old Australian Olympic cyclist has had a rough few months after a severe reaction to the COVID-19 vaccine. Sarah Gigante suffered severe chest pains and repeated hospitalizations after the Tokyo Olympics and was eventually diagnosed with myopericarditis, which is a combination of an inflammation of the heart muscle and pericardium, a sac surrounding the heart. 

Just days after participating in the Tokyo Olympic Games she became unwell. TIBCO-Silicon Valley Bank team founder Linda Jackson, with who Gigante is currently signed, said:

“Sarah started experiencing severe chest pains in early August that had her hospitalized in Girona (Spain).

It was an incredibly scary time for Sarah, her family, her teammates, and all of those that know her.”

The athlete was in and out of hospital in Spain, not sure what was wrong with her and far from friends and family. Gigante’s brother and later her mother – who faced the challenge of Australia’s pandemic border restrictions – flew over to be with her.

“It’s been a really rough few months since Tokyo – I would never have guessed that this would have happened to me.”

The Victorian finally returned to Australia in late October, just as Melbourne was coming out of an extended lockdown.

Gigante was asked in a Q&A published today if she believes her heart condition was a result of her vaccination:

“I’ve observed lots of people commenting on my posts that vaccines are harmful. I don’t know what triggered my sickness (and there are many prospects – some individuals within the feedback part appear positive that it was the COVID vaccine), however it doesn’t matter what it was, the actual fact is that I was extremely unfortunate.

I simply need to say that vaccines work, and these vaccines particularly save lives. I’m very lucky to have been in a position to be protected towards the horrible illness that’s COVID-19 and I encourage everybody who has the chance to embrace it with open arms and a raised sleeve.”

Gigante is now back riding, with help from an electric bike, on the roads of the hilly outskirts of Melbourne and on the outdoor velodrome of the Brunswick Cycling Club.

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By Daemon

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