A champion show jumper may never ride a horse again after two massive clots formed on her lungs in an incredibly rare reaction to the Moderna Covid-19 vaccine.
Imogen Allen, 22, was told by doctors that the clots, which formed two weeks after she was jabbed, could have been triggered by the vaccine alongside five years on the combined contraceptive pill.
Ms Allen, from Woodcote, Berkshire, may never be able to ride a horse again and has had her dreams of becoming a police detective dashed after she was left bedbound.
She could now die from a simple cut or bump on the head and will be on blood-thinning medication for the rest of her life, due to the extremely rare adverse reaction.
Ms Allen, who represented England in showjumping as a teenager, also faces the possibility of surgery after she suffered two clots on her lungs just 14 days after having the Moderna vaccine.
Imogen Allen, 22, a champion show jumper, may never ride a horse again after two massive clots formed on her lungs in an incredibly rare reaction to the Moderna Covid-19 vaccine
She said: ‘I was always wary of something happening, and it just shows that I had every right to be, because look at me now.’
Ms Allen was diagnosed with a bilateral pulmonary thromboembolism after collapsing while on a family holiday with her boyfriend Joe, 24, last month.
After beating scores of applicants to secure a job as a rookie police officer, it has been recommended that she is not suitable for the role because she is so unwell.
Ms Allen will have to wait to find out if she can reapply in the future if her health improves.
After winning a silver medal and representing England in British Show Jumping events against Ireland, Scotland and Wales in 2010, she may never ride a horse again due to her health.
Ms Allen, who had been working in events, said: ‘It’s devastating. I have been interested in the police since I was 18.
‘I have absolutely no idea what I’m going to do now. Work isn’t even on the horizon.
‘I’m literally in bed every day. It’s depressing, I’ve had a massive set-back.’
Ms Allen (pictured), from Woodcote, Berkshire, was told by doctors that the clots could have been triggered by the vaccine alongside five years on the combined contraceptive pill
Ms Allen said she started to become breathless while climbing the stairs the day after her first jab on July 24, but put it down to losing her fitness over lockdown.
But over the next few days, she said she began to feel exhausted while doing simple tasks and became so breathless while filling in eyelash extensions on a friend that she was unable to speak.
She explained: ‘Even brushing my teeth and hair I was panting and had to take breaks.
‘Sleeping on my side just felt like it was crushing my lungs, it was like every breath I took just didn’t do anything.’
But despite feeling so unwell, Ms Allen was resolute that she would join her boyfriend and his family on a trip to Devon.
On the holiday, she felt so weak and unwell that she was unable to help them unpack or put up the tents, and had to take a buggy back to the campsite when she almost collapsed after walking up a steep hill.
She phoned 111 and spoke to a paramedic about her symptoms who insisted on sending an ambulance, but Ms Allen refused.
Instead she and her boyfriend Joe agreed to drive to A&E at North Devon District Hospital in Barnstaple.
It wasn’t until the early hours of the morning that Ms Allen was given the devastating news that she had two clots on her lungs and her heart was struggling to pump blood around her body.
Ms Allen said: ‘I was absolutely petrified. The first thing I said was ‘Am I going to die?’
She spent a gruelling four days in hospital, only able to see her boyfriend and family – who travelled almost 200 miles to be by her side – for short periods of time due to Covid restrictions.
Ms Allen said seeing her mother Tessa, 53, and father Chris, 57, made it all seem real.
Ms Allen, who represented England in showjumping as a teenager (pictured), may never be able to ride a horse again and has had her dreams of becoming a police detective dashed
Ms Allen (pictured with boyfriend Joe) could die from a cut or bump on the head and will be on blood-thinning medication for the rest of her life, due to the extremely rare adverse reaction
She said: ‘It was so lovely and reassuring having them all there but at the same time I realised ‘Yeah, this is really bad’.’
She had to undergo days of excruciating injections into her tummy – made worse by her crippling phobia of needles – as she was pumped with a cocktail of drugs in an effort to relieve some of the strain on her heart.
Ms Allen said the hours she spent alone in the hospital, terrified for her life and future were ‘like a horror film’.
Eventually, medics were convinced she was well enough to go home, but just as she was leaving the hospital, a nurse said her Covid test had come back positive, so she would need to isolate for ten days at home.
It was a crushing blow after being trapped alone on a hospital ward for almost a week. Ms Allen has since recovered from the virus, but is still weak and tired from the clots.
She said she is bedbound most of the time and can just manage a few laps of her garden for exercise.
Doctors have told her it could be three months before her breathing returns to normal.
Ms Allen said: ‘I can’t even imagine walking to the end of my road at the moment or even going to work or anything like that.
‘I just don’t know what to expect for the future.’
Ms Allen is devastated that she may never ride a horse again after she beat the odds at age ten to qualify for the British Show Jumping Association’s National Championships at Scope Festival with two broken arms.
The talented horse rider also qualified for the Royal International competition at Hickstead aged 14 in 2013, as well as the Windsor Horse Show a year later.
Later that year, Ms Allen represented her school Cranford House at an inter-school competition when she was 16.
She had a break from competitions to focus on her studies and begin her new career, but decided to start booking in new shows before Covid-19 hit.
But her new career has been put on hold and she may never ride a horse again after she developed two blood clots on her lungs.
Ms Allen (pictured with Joe, 24) faces the possibility of surgery after she suffered two clots on her lungs just 14 days after having the Moderna vaccine
Doctors said Ms Allen’s (pictured in hospital) clots can be linked for certain to the vaccine, and that she could have been more susceptible having been on the combined pill since she was 17
Doctors said the clots can be linked for certain to the vaccine, and that she could have been more susceptible having been on the combined pill since she was 17.
The pill increases the risk of blood clots because the synthetic oestrogen contained within it makes the blood more ‘sticky’ and therefore more likely to clot.
But researchers still insist you are much more likely to suffer with a blood clot on a long haul flight or while pregnant than from the pill.
Ms Allen is booked in to undergo tests to see if she has antithrombin III deficiency, which is the lack of a protein in the blood designed to stop abnormal clots from forming, which Ms Allen’s grandad has.
GP Dr Fehrat Uddin, who co-founded Liberty Clinics which specialises in women’s health, explained that in very rare cases, blood clots can form as a reaction to the Covid-19 vaccine due to an immune response.
But she added it is not known if there is a link yet between the rare types of clots seen with the vaccine, and clotting from the combined pill.
Dr Fehrat said: ‘In some really rare cases some people have a more pronounced immune response to the Covid vaccine.
After representing England in British Show Jumping events against Ireland, Scotland and Wales in 2010, she may never ride a horse again due to her health
‘It’s almost this sort of over-reaction that causes the clots, typically what we see is a low platelet count and then so the clots typically form, usually in the brain or in the abdomen. On the lungs it’s very rare.’
She explained that, shockingly, the clots seem to be more common in women as they tend to have a stronger immune response.
But she was keen to point out the chances of blood clots was much higher for Covid patients than those receiving the vaccine, and that Ms Allen’s case is very unusual.
She added: ‘There is a small increased risk of blood clots when taking the combined contraceptive pill, which we counsel women about when starting the pill.
‘However the type of blood clot seen with the pill appears to be different from the very rare blood clot, with low platelets, seen in a tiny minority of people after the vaccine.
‘It is worth bearing in mind that the risk of pregnancy bears a much higher risk of blood clots, as does indeed Covid-19 infection.
‘We don’t know that being on the combined contraceptive pill makes any difference at all to the risk of the rare type of blood clot with the vaccine.
‘Currently there is no recommendation by the Faculty of Sexual & Reproductive Healthcare FRSH, the UK institution that provides contraception guidelines, to stop the pill prior to vaccination.
‘It’s important to understand that in medicine, correlation does not always imply causation.’
Blood clots form naturally in the body as a response to injury, however sometimes they form without injury and fail to dissolve.
GP Dr Fehrat Uddin said in very rare cases, blood clots can form as a reaction to the Covid jab due to an immune response. Pictured: Ms Allen with her dad Chris, mother Tessa and sister Mia
When they form in places like the abdomen, brain, heart and lungs serious issues can arise.
While the likelihood of a blood clot from coronavirus is much, much higher, there is some evidence vaccines also carry some risk.
Although more research is needed, experts think clots are formed in relation to the vaccine due to increased activity in the immune system affecting blood coagulation.
Scientists can’t be sure why this happens yet, but there are theories it is your body’s immune system bombing into overdrive as a response to the vaccine.
Research undertaken by the European Medical Agency back in April found ‘unusual blood clots with low blood platelets’ should be listed as very rare side effects of the AstraZeneca jab.
It was found the risk could also be somewhat higher for under 30s, particularly women.
As a result of this, health bosses in the UK said youngsters should be offered an alternative, such as Pfizer or Moderna.
Earlier this year, the UK ordered just 17million doses of the Moderna vaccine in comparison with 100million of the AstraZeneca jab and 40million doses of Pfizer’s vaccine.
Although the AZ jab is known to have more links with clots than the other two vaccines offered in the UK, it’s not completely unheard of.
Cases of clotting relating to the alternative vaccines have previously been reported in America and Australia.
Ms Allen has reported her health problems to the yellow card scheme, which records adverse reactions to the Covid vaccine, and encourages anyone who has experienced rare side effects to do the same.