Sunday, May 19, 2024

AstraZeneca Covid vaccine victim: Athletic marathon-running father, 50, left disabled, unable to work and struggling to breathe after suffering ultra-rare complication from the jab

He must have had some underlying condition. I had two shots of Astra-Zeneca and they might as well have injected me with saline for all the reaction I had

A taxi driver has been left unable to drive or even walk more than 20 metres after getting the AstraZeneca Covid vaccine.

Self-employed Adrian Walker, from Grantham, Lincolnshire, had the jab in February 2021 to 'protect others', including vulnerable children he helped take to school.

But just two weeks later the previously healthy marathon runner was fighting for his life, admitted to hospital with multiple blood clots in his lungs and bowel.

The ordeal left him struggling with short-term memory, breathlessness and fatigue.

Mr Walker was diagnosed with vaccine-induced immune thrombotic thrombocytopenia (VITT) in late March 2021, with medics confirming it was a result of the AstraZeneca vaccine.

Three years on from getting the jab, he told MailOnline how VITT had laid him low despite his good health.

'I was an extremely healthy and fit 47-year-old, a non-smoker who rarely drank, a sub four-hour marathon runner and a former semi-professional football referee,' he said.

Mr Walker claimed his life 'has flipped on its head' and he is no longer able to drive or run.

Like many others who signed up for the historic Covid jab rollout, Mr Walker, a grandfather, said he was motived to do so for altruistic reasons.

He explained that during the pandemic he often ferried vulnerable children back and forth to school, some of whom were disabled and at a high risk of the virus if they were to be infected.

'I was never worried about catching Covid myself as I was fit and healthy. It was more to protect others,' he said.

Soon after getting jabbed, Mr Walker began to feel unwell. However, he brushed it off, assuming they were the flu-like symptoms he had been warned of as a potential vaccine side effect.

Even when he started to feel worse, he wasn't that concerned, theorising that because it was February he might have caught a cold, or a feeling of lightheaded-ness was due to not having had his dinner.

But 10 days after getting the vaccine, he recalled 'feeling really rough' and even called in sick to work, something Mr Walker had rarely done.

He even decided to get a Covid test, but it came back negative.

However, the seriousness of his condition became apparent when he started experiencing chest pains and was told to go to hospital. He packed an overnight bag and was given steroids and blood tests.

Mr Walker's blood tests came back with worrying results. His platelet levels were just seven, vastly below the normal range for person of between 150,000 to 350,000 per microliter of blood.

Platelets typically help the blood to clot. Other blood tests conducted on Mr Walker were also extremely worrying.

His D-dimer levels, a test doctors use to check for blood clots, was 56,000 — drastically above the 500 score considered normal.

Mr Walker was then taken via an ambulance to another hospital. He would remain there for over a month.

Scans revealed he had multiple clots in his lungs and in the portal vein from his bowel.

So dire was his condition that a week after Mr Walker's was admitted to hospital his wife CJ, 47, was called in and told to prepare for his death.

Mr Walker said that, at the time, he had no idea how serious his condition was.

'I knew I was really ill, but with how fit and healthy I normally am, I wasn't concerned as such,' he said.

'To be honest to a degree I probably never really knew what was going on. Although I was always conscious I probably wasn't coherent all the time.

'My wife would tell me that I would ring her up and tell her something and call her again five minutes later and I could not recall having a conversation with them five minutes previously.'

VITT is thought to be linked to at least 81 deaths in the UK, according to figures collated by UK drug watchdog, the MHRA.

The complication – now listed as a potential side-effect of the jab – causes blood clots along with a low platelet count.

It is exceedingly rare, given the millions of doses dished out during the roll-out. The risk is thought to be in the region of one in 50,000, with the risk dying from it lower.

But at the time Mr Walker's was jabbed no one had yet linked the AstraZeneca vaccine to VITT, also called thrombosis with thrombocytopenia syndrome (TTS).

The connection would only be made after a series of cases in Europe in March, around the time Mr Walker was hospitalised.

UK regulators would only start restricting the use of the jab in April that year.

Mr Walker recalls mentioning feeling unwell after the AstraZeneca jab to the medics treating him, but at the time he didn't think much of it.

'I remember saying to the consultant that I hadn't been well since I had the vaccine. I wasn't saying it was that, but I thought it was strange,' Mr Walker said.

Mr Walker said VITT had affected both his everyday life and his ability to work since 2021.

'I struggle to walk 20 metres, I am constantly short of breath, I suffer with really bad short term memory loss and I am not allowed to drive because of the fatigue,' he said.

He added another impact had been on his personal life and ability to spend time with his loved ones.

'I've not been able to work, I can't be the father, the husband or the grandfather I wanted to be,' he said.

'I can't play football with my grandson, he loves to go to junior park run, I can't go running with him.

'It just feels like life has just literally flipped on its head and you know. I depended on my wife, I could not live independently.

'I dream of just being able to walk to a pup, go in the pub, have a pint, stand at the bar and walk home just something that everybody takes for granted.'

While medics were suspicious his illness was caused by the vaccine, it wasn't until researchers linked the AstraZeneca vaccine and rare cases of blood clotting with a low platelet count.

Four weeks after he was admitted to hospital he got the diagnosis in writing, in late March 2021.

'I left hospital on April 4, so I'd been in there for 34 days, and I breathed a huge sigh of relief when I got wheeled out of those doors and my wife met me at the door of a car. I was still very ill then,' Mr Walker recalled.

But even though he had been injured as a result of the vaccine, he was still unaware of the Government's little-known vaccine damage payment scheme.

He only learnt about it until 'by chance' when another person who was injured from the vaccine told him about the scheme on social media.

But even then, he had to wait almost two years to receive the £120,000 pay-out, which he now calls 'not fit for purpose'.

'I applied to the government's vaccine damage scheme and was eventually paid in April 2023, some 21 months after I applied,' Mr Walker said.

The Vaccine Damage Payment Scheme, originally set up in the 70s, offers those who have been injured, or their families in cases of death, a £120,000 tax-free sum.

This policy covers an array of vaccines recommended by the Government, such as the measles, mumps and rubella vaccine, and was extended to include Covid jabs during the pandemic.

In principle, the scheme is meant to reassure people that, in the unlikely event something goes wrong due to a vaccine they get, the state will provide them support and encourage people to get vaccinated in interests of public health.

But Mr Walker said he doesn't think the scheme is 'fit for purpose', given it took two years for him to receive any money.

During that time, he was forced to live off savings, a fact he said compounded the stress he was under during his recovery.

'The stress of it all on top of when you are ill, when you are struggling to live day to day as it is, to then have that heaped on top was horrible,' he said.

He added: 'I've got a friend who, who suffered a broken hip and leg in a in a car accident and in much less time his case and compensation was settled and now he's fully recovered.'

Freedom of information (FOI) requests to NHS Business Services Authority (NHSBSA), the body managing the UK's Vaccine Damage Payment Scheme, show £3.7m was paid out to 31 Brits injured or bereaved from AstraZeneca's Covid jab between November 2021 and April 2023.

When Mr Walker received his money in April 2023, 4,178 similar claims had been made to the Vaccine Damage Payment Scheme but only 63 claimants had been notified they were entitled to any money.

Now, one year on another FOI shows the scheme has received more than 11,000 Covid vaccine claims as of April 2.

Of these, 168 claims for state-funded financial support have now been approved.

Fewer than five were for fellow Covid jab makers Pfizer and Moderna, the remaining claims are all for AstraZeneca.

Successful claims to the scheme not only cover those affected by VITT but also other jab-related side effects such as the nerve condition Guillain-Barre syndrome, anaphylaxis or other blood clot reactions.

Time to resolution isn't the only criticism of the Vaccine Damage Payment Scheme.

Those injured by a vaccine have either be killed or be at least 60 per cent disabled by their injury, as assessed by a medic, to get any money.

Data shows more than 4,800 claims have been rejected by the scheme, including 324 because they failed to meet this 60 per cent threshold.

'Although the claims met the criteria for causation, the independent medical assessor recommended that the vaccine has not caused severe disablement,' the NHSBSA said.

In practice the scheme's rule means people who are assessed as only 59 per cent disabled by a jab don't get a penny, a policy described as cruel by its critics.

Mr Walker argues it shows the scheme is vastly out of date and needs an overhaul.

To make it fairer, he believes there should be a tiered system to help the people who are cut off from getting any compensation.

Another criticism of the current scheme the maximum £120,000 cap.

This means, for example, someone who is completely paralysed by a vaccine would receive the same £120,000 as someone who had lost a leg.

Many alleged victims of the AstraZeneca jab, facing financial ruin from ongoing care costs and being unable to work, have turned to other means for compensation.

Fifty-one families, including Mr Walker, are currently pursuing legal action against AstraZeneca arguing its 'defective' jab was to blame for their injuries and deaths of loved ones.

Some of these people have already received a payment from Vaccine Damage Payment Scheme.

Others are in the process of applying for a payment. Some have been told they are ineligible.

Should the action prove successful, compensation could reach seven-figure sums.

AstraZeneca, however, will not foot the bill.

Under a legal indemnity that the Government gave the company early in the pandemic — given the need to roll out the vaccine fast — the UK taxpayer will have to pay any compensation awarded.




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