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Monday, May 27, 2024
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HomeCOVID-19Injured and ignored: Long list of vaccine victims that shames the government

Injured and ignored: Long list of vaccine victims that shames the government

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A YEAR ago the government ignored a petition to reform the Vaccine Damage Payment Scheme (VDPS), set up to help those disabled or bereaved following vaccination. They told signatories they would not lower the 60 per cent injury threshold for those irreparably damaged by covid vaccines and claimed that: ‘Very few Covid-19 claims have been rejected for not reaching the 60 per cent disability threshold.’

We now know this is a gross misrepresentation of the truth. A freedom of information request from last month shows that just 3 per cent of the 4,996 claimants notified of an outcome were successful and received the £120,000 one off payment. A total of 11,022 covid claims were made, and 4,828 were rejected. Assessors said a further 438 did not meet the criteria for medical assessment, while 4,504 were unsuccessful because the independent medical assessor decided the vaccine did not cause the injury claimed for; 324, 6 per cent, were unsuccessful because although the claims met the causation criteria claimants were not considered 60 per cent disabled.

Claire Hibbs, 50, and Mark Kerry, 51, are both unable to work after they suffered severe adverse reactions to AstraZeneca’s covid vaccine. In both cases causation was accepted for their injury but both cases were rejected because they were not considered 60 per cent injured by the medical assessor. 

Previously fit and holding down a stressful job as an operations officer at easyJet, Mrs Hibbs now has fatigue, similar to long covid, so severe that she is confined to her home 90 per cent of the time. Assessors accepted her Vaccine Induced Thrombotic Thrombocytopenia (VITT) claim and rejected her chronic fatigue syndrome (CFS) claim but acknowledge that ‘some degree of tiredness may be associated with VITT.’ Mr Kerry was self-employed and ran mobile home parks. A brain bleed caused by the AZ vaccine left him with permanent neurological injury and fatigue so severe he sometimes sleeps for 24 hours, but the VDPS decision is that he is not 60 per cent injured.

Four Conservative health ministers have so far ignored the injured. The first was Matt Hancock (2018-2021) who ‘resigned’ having been caught kissing a colleague in clear breach of social distancing measures and his marriage vows. He was in office long enough to know that the vaccines, developed on his watch, were causing serious harm. Sajid Javid (June 2021 to July 2022) arrived just as the Delta variant took hold, not halted by the vaccine rollout. He would also have been aware of the growing number of injured. Thérèse Coffey (September 2022 to October 2022) was appointed by Liz Truss and, like her boss, was gone in the blink of an eye. Then there was Steve Barclay (July to September 2022 and October 2022 to November 2023) who also ignored the thousands of injured citizens who had taken one for the team. However a minister is at last taking notice of the horrific numbers that authorities still insist are rare. The current Health Secretary, Victoria Atkins, has asked department officials to look at reforming the VDPS scheme, set up in 1979 under the Vaccine Damage Payments Act. Payment has not increased since 2007; if it had kept up with inflation an award should be £177,000, not £120,000. And the process for those in desperate need is tortuous: it should take six months but most experience a year to two years.

I first wrote about the unfair and insulting VDPS for TCW in April 2022, after Sir Christopher Chope, Conservative MP for Christchurch, told the House that ‘10,000 people have suffered real, serious damage as a result of doing the right thing’. A handful of MPs deigned to listen but he received no government support at the time.

Sir Christopher began highlighting the outdated, understaffed government department as early as September 2021, when according to the Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) Yellow Card scheme, they had received 2,000 reports of death, 500,000 injuries, and 1 in 117 recipients said they had suffered an adverse event, each reporting an average of three separate reactions. Andrew Bridgen MP backed Sir Christopher and is a vocal advocate for the vaccine injured. Minister Esther McVey is also supportive.

By September 2021, AstraZeneca had taken the injury lead with around 45 per cent more reports than Pfizer-BioNTech, who had supplied nearly double the number of administered doses – 80million compared with 49.16million. There was a crystal-clear red flag but it was only last week that the jab was withdrawn worldwide after AstraZeneca admitted in court their vaccine could cause blood clots.

This is little comfort to the injured whose lives have been destroyed and must fight for compensation. Former taxi driver Adrian Walker, 50, received his AstraZeneca vaccine on February 16, from batch AB0012, which according to freedom of information requests was No 4 in the top ten most harmful covid vaccines. An essential worker, ferrying special needs children to and from school throughout the pandemic, he was one of the first to receive it. ‘I was never worried about getting covid,’ he said. ‘I was fit, could run a marathon in under four hours and was a semi-professional football referee. I didn’t need the vaccine but was aware our county council could make it conditional. Before lockdown, my main business was airport transfers but that all disappeared, so I needed the council contract.’

Within days of his jab, Mr Walker, who does not smoke and barely drinks, began to feel unwell and had to take a day off work, something he rarely did. By the end of February he was suffering with chest pains, was breathless, struggled to walk and by March 1, had been hospitalised. eventually diagnosed with Vaccine Induced Thrombotic Thrombocytopenia (VITT). His blood platelets dropped to seven per microlitre (mcL); the normal range for his age is 270,000 mcL.

VITT is potentially fatal, with 81 British deaths suspected of being caused by VITT, including BBC presenter Lisa Shaw, 44, and Dr Stephen Wright. It is characterised by blood clots and a low platelet count and occurs when the immune system produces antibodies to blood platelets. It sees them as invaders and destroys them. VITT can also lead to a stroke, heart attack and death.

A hospital consultant filled out a Yellow Card and reported Mr Walker’s adverse event to the MHRA, our drugs watchdog. They did not contact him. Thinking the report may have been mislaid, Mr Walker filled out his own Yellow Card in October 2021. He got a standard reply but still no one contacted him, let alone to mention the VDPS.

It was thanks to former easyJet operations officer Claire Hibbs, 50, herself injured by the ‘clotshot’, that he discovered the VDPS scheme. ‘I was on Facebook and saw a solicitor’s advert. I thought they might help me claim compensation, but they did not respond. Claire saw my comment and got in touch,’ Mr Walker said.

It was June 2021 when he applied, and he was told claims typically took six months. By January 2022, he had heard nothing. Claims then were being handled by the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) who were overwhelmed due to lack of staff. In November 2021, NHS Business Services Authority (NHSBSA) took over, but they had no medical assessors. Crawford & Co were awarded a five-year contract but not until March 2022, more than a year after the first claims had been lodged.

Mr Walker, from Lincolnshire, and his family thought they might lose their home because his income plummeted to nothing and they struggled to pay their mortgage. No one from NHSBSA gave accurate information about when his claim would be assessed, and he was constantly fobbed off. They were saved when his award came through in April 2023, almost two years after his initial claim.

It is a cruel, uncaring system with scant financial recompense. Mr Walker almost died in Lincoln County Hospital where he stayed for over a month. Scans revealed multiple clots in his lungs and in his bowel portal vein. Three years on he still suffers chronic fatigue, aching joints, balance problems, brain fog, short-term memory loss, breathlessness and suspected pulmonary hypertension for which there is no cure.

A dedicated family man, he said if it was not for his wife, daughter and grandchild he would have committed suicide. ‘I feel like I exist, I no longer live, my life as I knew it has been taken away from me.

‘We cannot even go on a normal family day out. Some days I cannot even walk 50 yards. I can’t walk and talk at the same time. I use a walking stick or a mobility scooter, and I hate seeing my reflection in shop windows. I look like an old man. I am constantly exhausted physically and mentally. Life is debilitating and some days I wish that I had not survived.’

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Sally Beck
Sally Beck
Sally Beck is a freelance journalist with 30 years of experience in writing for national newspapers and magazines. She has reported on vaccines since the controversy began with the MMR in 1998.

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