We were told the COVID-19 vaccines were safe and effective. But based on my personal experience and my family’s, that narrative seems to have unraveled. My brother suffered a stroke at 49 years old just two weeks after his first jab. My father developed crippling nerve pain four days after his first dose of the vaccine and died of COVID-19 a month later. Of course, correlation does not equal causation, and these tragic events certainly could be unrelated to the vaccines. But when death and severe illness strike, it’s hard to resist looking at every possible explanation. I’ve spent nearly two years grappling with this, and I’m personally convinced that my brother and father were both casualties of a massive medical experiment that has gone horribly, tragically wrong. It’s rational to dismiss my conclusions based on family and medical history — or that trusty standby, “coincidence” — but with the timing and circumstances so closely linked, it seems to me as close to a smoking gun as it gets. My brother had his stroke while sitting on the couch at my daughter’s confirmation party. When we got him to the hospital, they asked him every question in the book except one: Did he receive the COVID-19 vaccine? At a time when restaurant hostesses and airline ticket agents were checking vaccination cards, the medical personnel triaging and treating him were uninterested in the fact that just 14 days earlier, he had been injected with a rapidly developed vaccine with zero long-term outcome research. When my brother did bring that up to his care team as a possible cause, he said they all looked like they had “seen a ghost” and wouldn’t answer him. Truthfully, I was surprised he got the jab considering what already had happened to our father, but he still trusted what was being called “the science” at that point. My father was one of the first to be eligible for the vaccine since he was living in a veterans’ nursing home. He was injected with the Pfizer mRNA vaccine on Jan. 2, 2021, a decision that aligned with our Roman Catholic faith since the vaccine wasn’t developed using fetal tissue. (We later learned that the cell lines, however, had come from aborted fetal tissue.) But just four days after his first jab, my father was taken to the emergency room with excruciating and unrelenting nerve pain along the entire right side of his body. Nothing the doctors gave him could even touch it. In fact, he had so many painkillers in his system at one point that he turned blue and stopped breathing in front of me as I frantically called for a nurse. The oddest thing was that he hadn’t felt anything on that side of his body since he had had a brain hemorrhage 13 years prior. He went from being completely numb to having the worst pain of his life with nothing intervening except the jab. My father asked his doctors if this could be from the vaccine he had just taken. They dismissed him, as did I — at the time, it was hard to fathom how it could cause something like that. He stayed at the hospital for a couple more days before the pain calmed down, but we never really got answers. (In case you’re wondering, it’s apparently a side effect now described in medical literature.) It wouldn’t be long before my father returned to the same ER in respiratory distress after being diagnosed with COVID-19. He spent two weeks in the intensive care unit on a ventilator — the maximum time they’d allow before employing more drastic measures my father didn’t want — but he never woke up. He died on Feb. 6, and a nurse in the ICU told me most of the other beds that day were taken up by people from the same home he was in, all dying of COVID-19 as well. By the time we gathered his belongings from the veterans’ home, a staff member there confided in us that nearly 20 others in the facility had also died. Mind you, that home had had its share of cases here and there, but the majority of those American heroes had made it almost an entire year without carnage like this. After the jab rollout, it looked to us like a veritable bloodbath. Many who still endorse the COVID-19 vaccines claim that those of us questioning it now based on stories like these are just “anti-vaxxers” looking for any reason to discredit the jabs. That couldn’t be further from the truth. My father and I both thought it was the right thing for him. He trusted my opinion on these matters as his health care power of attorney. [firefly_poll] When the pandemic began, I figured there’d be a vaccine, and we’d be among the first to line up for it. Our son, who was just 6 years old at the time, was less than a year in remission from bone marrow failure, and we were scared to death. Once the vaccines were approved for emergency use, my husband and I took a wait-and-see approach because of the new technology used in them. However, it seemed a given that my 69-year-old father in a nursing home should get it. That decision haunts me now. Before the COVID-19 vaccine, I thought it was crazy that some people claimed vaccines simply didn’t work or, worse, that they were actively harmful and that the pharmaceutical companies knew it. Never in my life did I think the people who developed, approved, sold or administered these inoculations could be so blind or so callous or so downright evil. That is, until now. It’s a fact that these vaccines don’t stop transmission, don’t prevent infection, and have a questionable impact on hospitalization. They may reduce transmission or infection, but they don’t directly prevent them, despite what the public was led to believe. It’s time we have this frank conversation about the COVID-19 vaccines, not just about all of the “died suddenly” cases, but about other adverse events that can be closely linked to the vaccine in timing and nature of injuries. Now, I hope to God that I’m wrong about all of this. I hope that I’ve simply fallen prey to the legion of internet conspiracy theorists. I pray that I’m proved so unbelievably and embarrassingly mistaken about the dangers of the COVID-19 vaccines that I’m forced to flog myself in the streets in a public mea culpa. Because if I’m right, the majority of people I know and love who took these vaccines could be in grave danger — and I can’t bear to think there are others who will suffer the same fate as my brother or my late father. If you would like to read my eulogy for my father, you can find it here. This article appeared originally on The Western Journal.