THERE are three Covid-19 vaccines in use in the UK, but none is causing more havoc than the Oxford/AstraZeneca jab, now known as the ‘clotshot’ because it can cause vaccine-induced thrombosis (VITT). By July 28, 73 VITT deaths had been reported to the Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA), the body that makes sure new pharmaceuticals are safe. Deadly blood clots are not the only side-effects; there are many more affecting one in 110 people according to official figures. Some last for months and could be permanent even if they aren’t fatal.
Neurological occupational therapist Carla Freitas, 31, who works for the NHS, took part in the original AZ trial and is one of 11 women and men who reacted to the same batch of AstraZeneca Covid vaccine, batch number PV46671, earlier this year. The group are countrywide as it is common practice to distribute a batch to different areas. The PV46671 injured found each other on Twitter so there may be more victims not using social media out there. I talked to seven of them.
All seven received the jab before the MHRA began investigating adverse events reported to the Yellow Card Scheme, not originally flagged up by AstraZeneca. Carla said: ‘I was deemed fit enough to join the Oxford trial after thorough medical examinations. In December 2020, I was told I had been given the placebo and offered the jab once it was available, so I did not hesitate to take it. I was fine after the first injection but two weeks after the second one everything changed. I have been off work for five months since March trying to find solutions to my health problems. The doctors from the AZ trial have been unhelpful.’
BBC food broadcaster Jules Serkin, 63, from Canterbury, whose original tweet alerted the others, was ‘desperate for the vaccine’ but she has also suffered horrific side effects. She said: ‘My doctor agreed my reaction was from the vaccine. I contacted AstraZeneca and I’ve had five emails from them asking if they can contact my GP. I responded yes, of course. They never have.’
This close-knit, previously healthy group, aged from their early 30s to early 60s, have all developed chronic illnesses since vaccination. Some experienced symptoms within minutes of the jab being administered while others received PV46671 as their second jab. And while some are recovering slowly, others are getting worse.
Rachael Matthews, 31, and Claire Hibbs, 48, both developed heparin-induced thrombocytopenia (HIT) (blood clots usually caused by the anticoagulant drug heparin, typically used in the treatment of heart attacks but AZ victims seem to develop it despite the fact they are not taking heparin) and have tested positive for the heparin-PF4 antibody.
Other symptoms include heart problems, low blood platelets, palsy, excruciating headaches, insomnia, tinnitus, muscle pain, dizziness, disorientation, inflammatory autoimmune disease, pins and needles in hands, feet and face, fatigue, brain fog, difficulty swallowing, sore eyes and eye problems and stomach pains.
In the patient information leaflet, AZ, who have renamed their jab Vaxzervia, list many of the reactions the group have suffered but Serkin says: ‘Health professionals more often than not deny the connection.’
The leaflet says: ‘In clinical trials there were very rare reports of events associated with inflammation of the nervous system, which may cause numbness, pins and needles, and/or loss of feeling. However, it is not confirmed whether these events were due to the vaccine.
‘Following widespread use of the vaccine there have been extremely rare reports of blood clots in combination with low level of blood platelets. When these blood clots do occur, they may be in unusual locations, e.g. brain, liver, bowel, spleen.’
Both Matthews and Hibbs developed a clot in the portal vein which leads to the liver, while Serkin, Howard Griffiths, 52, and Dave McGuire are suffering numbness and pins and needles.
Despite their symptoms, some of those who reacted to their first dose are under pressure from GPs to have the second. This is inexplicable but one consultant suggested it could be because GP practices receive £25.16 for each double-jabbed person. With an average of 9,000 patients for each practice (although under-16s are not yet eligible for the jab) that could be a maximum £230,000 incentive. Patient health be damned!
Despite the MHRA’s denials – they say most adverse events are coincidental – logic suggests that if someone receives a vaccine that is designed to provoke an immune response and then develops autoimmune disease or other problems with their immune system, the jab should be first in the frame. However alleged vaccine damage seems to be rarely investigated or taken seriously.
Adverse reactions can be caused by a ‘hot lot’, a faulty batch of vaccine with too much of one ingredient. Big Pharma has known this for decades, and this problem was legally accepted in 1992 during an Irish court case involving Kenneth Best, 23. As a four-and-a-half-month-old baby, Kenneth suffered brain damage and seizures after he was given Wellcome’s diphtheria, tetanus, pertussis (DTP) vaccine in 1969. The Irish Supreme Court ruled: ‘The documentary evidence surrounding the particular batch out of which the vaccine given to the Plaintiff was taken indicates that it was excessively high in both potency and toxicity.’
It is hard to know if this happened in this case because the MHRA and AstraZeneca have not responded to repeated requests for information. Contacted on July 29, AZ has not responded (even after Oxford University press office contacted them on TCW’s behalf) while in an unsympathetic email the MHRA confirmed that they had not investigated the group’s concerns.
An MHRA spokesperson said: ‘We are sorry to hear of the health problems these people are experiencing. We are not aware of any batch-specific safety issues for the AstraZeneca vaccine. We are also not aware of any issues with individuals involved in Covid-19 vaccine AstraZeneca trials who subsequently received this vaccine outside of the trial but will follow this up with the investigator.’
Meanwhile those in the group who have been advised by medics not to have a second vaccine fear they will become victims of medical apartheid. Adele B, 57, worries that she will be labelled an antivaxxer because she linked her health problems to the jab. She said: ‘I’ve always believed in vaccines so nothing could be further from the truth.’
Serkin, Freitas and Hibbs would like to travel when they feel well enough, but worry they will not be allowed without vaccine passports. Hibbs says: ‘I so want to visit my son in Cyprus, I’m wondering if I should have the second jab just to go.’
Here are the stories of the seven in detail.
CLAIRE HIBBS, 48, works for easyJet, lives in Luton, and is married with two children.
‘I’ve been signed off work now since the end of March. I’m now concerned about returning to work if I’m vulnerable. Devastated with the travel rules that you have to be double vaccinated, and I cannot have the second dose. My son, 18, is in the Army and is moving to Cyprus. I planned to visit regularly, but not with blood clots in my lungs.’
1st jab date: March 31
2nd jab date: Advised not to have second jab
Health issues before the jab: None
Reactions: ‘I began feeling unwell on April 5 and developed blood clots in the vein leading to the liver (portal vein), also in my lungs. I’m suffering constant headaches, muscle, joint and neck pains, constant eye twitching. I’m off balance and have brain fog. Can’t get through the day without falling asleep.’
Tests done: Blood tests but liver scan cancelled due to staff shortages. D-dimer (checks for tiny clots), CT, ultrasound and MRV scans which detect VITT. Positive HIT test. Positive test for portal vein thrombosis. Appointment with gastro team. Official diagnosis: ‘Thrombocytopenia (low blood platelets) and portal vein thrombosis, pulmonary embolism (clot in the lung) induced by the AZ vaccine.’
Doctor’s response: ‘No luck with doctors, just keep getting fobbed off, mostly saying it’s stress. I’m feeling very let down.’
Time off work: Unable to work since March
Response from MHRA and AstraZeneca: ‘Filled in a Yellow Card. Acknowledgement but no other response. AZ have emailed me to ask for consent to contact my GP three times. I said yes but they have not contacted the GP.’
RACHAEL MATTHEWS, 31, an accountant from Norfolk, is married with one daughter.
‘I had my vaccine on my daughter’s first birthday at my GP surgery. I was apprehensive because I wanted to try for another baby in the spring. I’d had a complicated pregnancy, had a blood clot in my leg, but I was told I needed to have the jab to keep my daughter safe. Ironically, it nearly killed me which would have left my daughter without a mum. I’m now not well enough to consider having another baby. I’ve been told I was one of the first VITT cases in the UK.’
1st Jab: March 6
2nd Jab: ‘No second jab although I’ve been under pressure to take it.’
Health issues before jab: None, apart from pregnancy-related blood clot.
Reactions: ‘Started a week after the jab with stomach cramps, nausea and diarrhoea, very heavy legs. Struggled with everyday things I felt so weak. Couldn’t sleep, was struggling to walk, stopped being able to lift my daughter. Unable to get on to the doctor’s couch for a routine smear, a nurse insisted I went to A&E. I might have died otherwise. GPs had dismissed my symptoms. Blood clot found in the portal vein to my liver. VITT and HIT.’
Tests done: Two A&E visits, admitted to hospital for six days. Ultrasound, daily blood tests while in hospital. Endoscopy. Tests for HP4 heparin antibodies show HIT still present.
Time off work: ‘I work for my dad’s firm, so I fit in work when I’m well enough.’
GP’s response: ‘I asked about blood clots and was told it was fake news. Went to A&E and was told to take Gaviscon although routine blood tests showed very low blood platelets, around 50. When I was finally diagnosed with a blood clot I kept asking if it was the vaccine and no one would answer me.’
MHRA and AstraZeneca response: None.
HOWARD GRIFFITHS, 52, an events broadcaster for BBC, ITV and Channel 5, unmarried, lives in South Wales
‘I’m not Howard at the moment and I just want Howard back. I feel like my body has been hijacked, I’m desperate to get rid of the hijackers. I have always been highly motivated and full of energy. Before the jab I ran up Pen y Fan (highest peak in south Wales). After the jab I struggled to walk up hill to the shops.’
1st jab date: April 4
2nd jab date: ‘NHS say I cannot have second AZ but want to give me Pfizer.’
Health issues before the jab: None
Reactions: ‘Anaphylaxis. Within three minutes of the jab my lips and mouth became swollen, and I thought I was having a heart attack. My face went red. I have inflammation of the nervous system. I’m left with tingling and numbness in the hands, face, mouth and beneath the nose. Throbbing headache for ten days, changed to mild headaches but have now gone. Insomnia, which I never had before, dizziness, disorientation and fatigue. Tinnitus in left ear, throbbing in back of the neck and brain fog. Slight improvement but not back to normal.’
Tests done: Blood tests which showed low vitamin D. Three visits to GP and one to the hospital.
Time off work: Scaled down work at the beginning of pandemic anyway but would not have been able to carry on as normal
GP’s response: ‘Made no connection with the AZ.’
MHRA and AstraZeneca response: Filled in Yellow Card via phone call directly with MHRA but no contact since. Did not contact AZ.
JULES SERKIN, 63, freelance radio presenter for BBC specialising in food, married with three grown-up children and lives in Canterbury.
‘Too much stress at the moment. All I am doing is bouncing from pillar to post. Different GPs saying different things. Apparently, I’m a complex case.’
1st jab: March 5
2nd jab: Advised not to have second jab
Health issues before the jab: ‘Underactive thyroid. Initially, I was told it was safe to have the jab, but the advice has changed now for people with thyroid issues.’
Reactions: ‘Shivers were the first symptom, I felt like I had full blown flu. I was in bed for two days. Then blood clots came out of my nose for three weeks, I developed sinusitis. I began sleeping a lot, couldn’t look at a screen because my eyes were so sensitive. Developed a pain in my calf and headaches, which I’ve never had, with pains in my temples. Numbness in cheek and pins and needles in feet. Now my left eyelid has started to droop. I’m feeling tearful too.’
Tests done: Positive D-dimer test for blood clots. Blood tests show elevated liver enzymes which suggests liver damage. Ultrasound scan. MRI scan.
Time off work: ‘It’s affected my work for five months. I’ve been working but resting as often as possible.’
GP’s response: ‘You’re having a reaction to the vaccine.’
MHRA and AstraZeneca response: ‘AZ have sent five emails asking if they can contact my GP, but they haven’t yet. Filled in a Yellow Card in May, I’ve had an acknowledgment but that’s it.’
ADELE B, 57, is a retired communications co-ordinator, from Preston, who lives with her partner.
‘I’ve suffered weeks of weird symptoms. I feel it just can’t be coincidence that everything came at once. It also impacts on your family and friends. I feel like my partner is always checking on me. It’s put a cloud over my life. I cannot recall a day since I had the vaccine that I have felt completely well.’
1st jab: March 14
2nd jab: Advised not to have it while taking steroid medication to correct adverse reaction
Health issues before jab: None. Rarely went to the doctor.
Reactions: ‘Immediately after the vaccine I had chills, a sleepless night followed by a day with a headache and five days of feeling fatigued. The following week began with muscle aches and weakness in my shoulders, upper back, thighs and hips. Lack of sleep due to pain and I struggle to stand up after inactivity. These symptoms point to polymyalgia rheumatica (stiffness in neck and shoulders), an inflammatory autoimmune disease. My vision became blurry, and I had floaters in my right eye coupled with feeling disorientated when I sat down. I have heart palpitations, a strange rash behind my knee, dizziness and disorientation. Nerve pain and numbness in face, legs and feet and electric shock type sensations across my body. Health professionals are at a loss for a true diagnosis.’
Tests done: Several doctor’s appointments, seven blood tests, a 111 call, a visit to A&E, referral to rheumatology, referral to neurology, MRI scan of head, neck and spine, chest X-ray, eye examination.
Doctor’s response: ‘My doctor has advised me not to have the second AstraZeneca vaccine. Rheumatologist has indicated that she has seen several people reporting with autoimmune disorders since having their vaccine.’
MHRA and AstraZeneca response: Filled in Yellow Card, had a standard acknowledgement but nothing since. Didn’t contact AZ.
CARLA FREITAS, 31, highly specialist occupational therapist in neurology, neuro-cardiac and neuro-outreach at St George’s University Hospital, south London.
‘I was deemed fit enough to join the phase 1 Oxford Covid vaccine trials last April. I received the placebo and was offered the vaccine in January due to being an NHS worker. In the first few weeks of suffering nasty side effects and not understanding what was happening to my body I was in a very lonely place.’
1st jab: Jan
2nd jab: March 27
Health issues before jab: ‘None, 10-15-mile hikes at the weekend, scuba diving, travelling, you name it . . .’
Reactions: ‘No immediate side effects post second jab but after two weeks everything changed. I began getting headaches in the back of the head and pain in my neck. Stiff neck, pins and needles in my head and neck. Fatigue and short of breath during hikes. I had to stop after every lap when swimming. I tried to carry on as normal but couldn’t.’
Tests done: Four A&E visits and two admissions, one a suspected stroke the other because she couldn’t swallow, suspected VITT and Guillain-Barré syndrome (rapid onset muscle weakness), burning in hands and feet and leg weakness. Fifteen GP appointments, numerous blood tests, MRI of brain and spine, endoscopy, recorded heart rate for 24 hours, neurological physiotherapy, and exercises to help improve balance and reduce dizziness.
Time off work: Five months but hoping to return to work fulltime as feeling much better.
GP’s response: ‘I was told this is all stress and anxiety, in other words, all in my mind. Denial that the vaccine has anything to do with it. Doctors in the clinical trial have been unhelpful.’
MHRA and AstraZeneca response: Not known
DAVE McGUIRE, personal details not given. Dave provided three emails but has not been in contact since.
‘I’ve been talking to my best chum recently who had his first Pfizer jab a few weeks back. He’s now a fully-fledged member of the post vaccine headache world. What on earth is in these vaccines?’
1st jab: details not provided
2nd jab: not known
Health issues before jab: None
Reactions: Constant headaches, dizziness, abnormal heart rate, chest pain, reflux, fatigue, muscle pain and weakness in legs and arms, pins and needles and tingling in my right little finger, nausea, inflammation and stomach pains.
Tests done: Not known
Time off work: ‘Chest pain and muscle aches seem to be waning away and my heart is no longer racing like it used to.’
GP’s response: ‘One was hopeful that from her experience of seeing people with long-lasting effects from other vaccines that these should disappear with time.’
MHRA and AstraZeneca response: Not known
NOTE: By July 28, 24.8million people had received 48.4million doses of the AstraZeneca with one in 110 people reporting adverse reactions to the MHRA’s Yellow Card Scheme. A total of 20.46million have received 34.26million doses of the Pfizer with a reporting rate of one in 208 adverse events. Only 1.3million people have received 1.7million doses of the Moderna and 1 in 110 have reported serious side effects.