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At age 21, Philadelphia native Andre Cherry had an active life and a promising future, as he worked toward completing his bachelor’s degree in English.
Cherry’s studies ground to a halt, however, shortly after his second dose of the Moderna COVID-19 vaccine. Within hours, Cherry experienced an adverse reaction that was moderate at first but grew more intense.
To this day, Cherry experiences the random, daily onset of tremors, muscle spasms, involuntary vocalizations and temporary paralysis.
Cherry, now 23, shared his experience with The Defender. He provided extensive medical documentation to support his story.
‘Only time I don’t have symptoms is when I’m asleep’
Cherry received the two-dose Moderna series on May 26, 2021, and June 23, 2021. After the second dose, he developed a “moderate tremor in my left arm, where I was injected both times,” he said.
But what started as a moderate tremor quickly spiraled into a range of severe adverse reactions, which continue to afflict Cherry to the present day.
Cherry told The Defender:
“I experience tremors in all of my limbs. Dystonia of my face, neck, torso, diaphragm and extremities. Muscle spasms throughout my body. Violent involuntary movements such as punching, kicking, jumping, walking and running — known as ballismus [hemiballismus]. Involuntary speech, laughter and screaming. And flaccid paralysis of my neck, torso and extremities.
“All of these symptoms are intermittent and random, varying in duration, combination and intensity on a daily basis.”
The episodes can last anywhere between a couple of seconds to hours on end, Cherry said. In one instance, he experienced a symptomatic episode of “over 16 hours of full-body flaccid paralysis, combined with several instances of ballismus, vocalizations and muscle spasms.”
Cherry said the episodes can occur randomly or be triggered by exertion, repetitive movement or when his body comes in contact with pressure, heat or cold.
“Trying to resist my involuntary movements or attempts made by myself or others to force my body to move the way I want it to when it’s in a dysregulated state also exacerbates my condition,” Cherry added. “All I can do is wait for the symptoms to run their course.”
“The only time I don’t have any symptoms is when I’m asleep.”
‘My family has had to spoon-feed me, bathe me and clothe me’
Cherry’s symptoms are disruptive to his daily life “to the point of debilitation,” he said, and have interrupted his studies.
“I got vaccinated in the summer of 2021, and haven’t been able to return to college since,” Cherry said. “My independence is a distant memory. I can’t rely on my body to consistently attend classes, in person or online, or complete work tasks.”
He said he struggles to perform mundane day-to-day tasks.
“I can’t do housework because exertion and repetitive movements trigger my episodes,” he said. “I can’t travel by myself. I can barely travel at all,” he said. “When I do, it’s a process that can involve practically the entire family. There have been times when my family has had to spoon-feed me, bathe me and clothe me.”
His symptoms have greatly limited his freedom and mobility. He told The Defender:
“My ambulation has been extremely limited. Because of my episodes of flaccid paralysis, I’ve fallen many times. Because of these falls, I’m confined to the first floor of the house and sleep in a hospital bed that we bought with guardrails on the sides to ensure that my spasms and thrashings don’t throw me to the floor.
“My family has procured a variety of safety equipment, including wheelchairs, a hoyer lift, collars to stabilize my neck when it goes flaccid, a body harness to keep me from doubling over when I’m in my wheelchair, several gym mats and large pillows to mitigate the damage of impacts against the floor or other surfaces and ramps for the porch to ensure that I don’t injure myself or others.”
Doctors ‘refuse to investigate any connection to COVID mRNA shots’
Cherry has visited a wide range of doctors, at hospitals all across the U.S., he said. But for over a year, he had difficulty finding a doctor who would draw a connection between his condition and his vaccination.
“I’ve seen several doctors, including neurologists, movement specialists, physical and occupational therapists, a rheumatologist, a hematologist and a neuropsychologist.
“I’ve been to some of the best hospitals in Philadelphia and have even been seen at the Mayo Clinic in Jacksonville, Florida, Columbia University Hospital in New York, and the NIH [National Institutes of Health].”
The doctors he saw refused to diagnose his condition as a vaccine injury.
“Throughout the 21 months it’s taken me to get a diagnosis and care, the prevailing narrative among many of the doctors I’ve seen is that I’m suffering from functional neurologic disorder, which allegedly was brought about by stress and anxiety,” Cherry said.
“This assertion that my symptoms were precipitated by stress, anxiety or other psychological factors, I’ve found, is a common problem among the vaccine-injured community, whose doctors, for the most part, refuse to investigate any connection between their patients’ maladies to the COVID mRNA shots,” he added.
The Defender has previously interviewed several other COVID-19 vaccine injury victims who were also told that their health difficulties were a result of “anxiety.”
Cherry said some of the doctors lied about their interactions with him and some diagnosed him with a psychological disorder — without his knowledge:
“One of the first movement specialists I saw claimed the vaccine doesn’t remain in one’s system for more than two weeks.
“Three of the doctors I’ve seen have even gone so far as to lie in their visit summaries about their conversations with me or about my mental state, including my primary care physician in 2021, who diagnosed me with psychological conversion disorder without my knowledge.”
Six months after his injury, Cherry took a neuropsychological exam to see how much — if at all — he was being affected by stress and anxiety. The results found only mild anxiety.
He also sought a psychological evaluation. “The doctor said that whatever stress I experience is commensurate with my horrid situation, and that he could find no evidence of any causative anxiety,” Cherry said.
As recently as late 2022, doctors he visited were still “claiming that my movement issues were precipitated psychologically,” he said.
Aside from visiting several doctors in an attempt to locate one that would be understanding of his situation, Cherry also rotated through numerous medications and treatments.
He told The Defender:
“I have tried a veritable smorgasbord of medications and supplements. At first, I was able to find a homeopathic practitioner who gave me a veritable handful of supplements to take. They were meant to detox my system to promote my body’s capacity for healing.
“If I recall correctly, in terms of volume, I was ingesting more than 30 tablets of supplements daily, not to mention the various salts and oils included in the treatment.
“I also went through at least six months of physical therapy. However, almost every session ended in a massive episode that would require my physical therapist and brother to carry me into the car. Although my physical therapist tried as much as he could to help me, it only worsened my symptoms.”
Doctors never reported his condition to the Vaccine Adverse Event Reporting System (VAERS), even though he asked — so Cherry submitted his own report.
Supportive doctor ‘a breath of fresh air’
After a long search, Cherry finally found a supportive doctor — one who has treated other people in a similar situation to his.
Cherry told The Defender:
“Currently, I’m in the care of Dr. Pierre Kory, who has been taking care of several of the vaccine-injured with candor, compassion, and a real diligence in his approach to finding the best ways to treat his patients — a real breath of fresh air after all this time.
“He has diagnosed me with ‘severe post-vaccination injury syndrome,’ consisting largely of neurologic motor dysfunction. He also informed me that I’m one of his most difficult patients to treat.”
Cherry also began a new course of treatment with the help of a support group for vaccine-injured individuals. And he said he’s also found support from family, friends and his faith community.
“It has been a great blessing to me, especially since I know that there are so many people who have been vaccine-injured who unfortunately do not have that same kind of support from their own families,” he said.
Describing his experience being a part of Catherine “Cat” Parker’s COVID-19 Vaccine Adverse Reactions Support Group on Facebook, Cherry said, “The opportunity to connect with others who are vaccine-injured means a lot to me.”
“It helps me remember that I’m not alone and keeps me motivated to do what I can to help spread awareness about the mRNA shots and their many victims.”
Cherry also shared his experience with the wider public, producing videos posted on YouTube and Instagram.