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Friday, June 14, 2024
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HomeCOVID-19My three years of hell, by first vaccine victim to win compensation

My three years of hell, by first vaccine victim to win compensation

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Alex Mitchell is one of the 51-strong group challenging AstraZeneca through the legal system for vaccine damage liability and deaths, attributable to the product rolled out as part of the UK vaccination programme from the end of 2020. Last month AstraZeneca admitted for the first time in court documents that its covid vaccine can cause a rare side effect in an apparent about-turn that could have paved the way for a multi-million-pound legal payout. This could theoretically become a landmark legal case, although there have already been obstacles for those seeking justice. Twelve of the families have pulled out after being told that those receiving the jab after April 7 2021 were notified of possible side-effects through the availability of information leaflets at vaccination centres. 

Alex is the first living person in the UK to have received compensation through the Vaccine Damage Claim Scheme. He lost a leg after his single covid vaccination in March 2021. He tells  Shane Fudge about his experiences over the last three years. 


THE LAST three years has been a time of re-evaluating everything I knew. I set out to get help and support and it has mushroomed into this. I want something positive to come out of it all. Nothing is ever going to give me my leg or my health back, so it is not about me. This is about injustice and the fact that they thought it was okay to f*ck off and to abandon us.  People like me have existed for three years, yet most are still not getting any help or support.   

I aim to do three things: to get help and support for people like me, and the bereaved; to stop these things because there is clearly a problem with them; and – the one I fight on above all – the children. If you are a parent, I want to tell you what I know – that scientifically and medically, your child already has a 99.7 per cent probability of not having a problem with this virus. 

At the age of 56, I was the most content, happy man in the world because I had done everything I wanted to do. I had been in a band, had a lot of success, had lived my life the way I wanted to. They took that away from me. I will go to my grave calling these people out. I don’t have any fear of them. I don’t want anybody else to end up like me. This is a war and a battle for your soul. Why else would they have done what they have to us? 

The vaccination 

When the vaccine was rolled out, the health secretary Matt Hancock said in the House of Commons that the AstraZeneca jab was 100 per cent safe and effective. Did I know anything at that point?  No. The nearest I got to conspiracy theories was watching UFO programmes on YouTube.  

On the March 20, 2021, I went and got my one and only vaccine.  I was told that I might experience slight pain in my arm and flu-like symptoms for 48 hours. That was it, nothing else. I went to work (I was a scaffolder) on the Monday, and I was fine.  On Thursday April 1 – the irony of which is not lost on me – I lifted a heavy loading frame, stepped back, and I thought I had pulled both my calf muscles. I struggled on for a couple of days. Then, on Sunday April 4, I just collapsed. My legs gave way. I had to pull myself headfirst backwards down the stairs because my legs wouldn’t work. I told my wife to phone an ambulance as I knew I was in trouble. I could feel something in my left calf, and I didn’t know what it was. I don’t remember too much after that.  

I came to in the hospital with a vascular consultant in front of me. She took me for a CT scan then I was straight down to the operating theatre. I remember saying to her: ‘I take it I am in trouble?’ and she said: ‘Yeah, the worst kind’. I phoned my wife and my two daughters from my first marriage and basically said goodbye to them. The staff had never seen anything like this. If I did survive, it was highly likely that it would only be from the waist up. 

I spent seven and a half hours in surgery having multiple clots removed from both my right and my left leg.  Back on the ward, I opened my eyes and the same vascular consultant said to me, ‘You really shouldn’t be here.’ They still didn’t know what was causing this and my left leg was still a big concern. I spent a week in isolation and then it was amputated. Eight days later I left hospital, my discharge notes cited ‘thrombocytopenia and thrombosis’, which was eventually reclassified as ‘vaccine induced thrombocytopenia’.

I am the first person to survive at the level of damage this has caused. I am also the first living person that the UK Government’s Vaccine Damage Claim Scheme (VDCS) awarded to.  

The claim for vaccine damages  

The claim process is the most horrific experience that anybody could go through. The system is disgusting, corrupt, and wrong on all levels. I applied to the VDCS after my daughter found out about it. The DWP [Department for Work and Pensions] were running it at that time. I sent the completed form in on April 29, 2022 and received a letter on June 2. They said that they had accepted the claim, but they had to prove two things: 1) that it was most likely to have been caused by the vaccine and 2) that I was likely to be over 60 per cent disabled because of it. I thought: ‘I’ve got both of those.’ They also told me that, because these were new technologies, it might take some time to investigate.  

I waited six weeks. Then I phoned every week for about four months. My MSP Clare Haughey wrote two letters to the DWP – both ignored. They then sent me a letter saying they were transferring the case to the NHS Business Services Authority.  I phoned again on December 28, 2021 and I was informed that my medical records had been sent for. When I contacted them in late February, I was told: ‘Oh, we are just sending for your medical records,’ to which I replied: ‘You already told me that in December. Can you get the manager to call me?’ The manager didn’t call me, so I took to Twitter, taking out my frustration with them online and tagging them on it. They responded and asked if I would give them a number to call me on. They phoned and we had a conversation where I was asked a series of questions that were neither pertinent nor appropriate. We then wrote a complaint to the chief executive of the NHS Business Services Authority, Michael Brodie. The response I got for the request for a full timeline review of my claim was embarrassing. He actually lied. He said that they had contacted me to give them an update – something that only happened after I had highlighted their refusal to talk to me on social media. And the seven-line time review itself? I spent many years in middle management so I know what a full timeline review should look like – it was pitiful. 

I was eventually awarded my claim, the maximum £120,000, on June 22, 2022.  Since then, I have spent most of my time lobbying for change. Other than state benefits, there is no support for this kind of situation. 98.7 per cent of these claims are rejected.  Only 1.7 per cent of claims have ever been awarded. There have been over 9,500 claims made against these vaccines. 

Down the rabbit hole

In the last 20 years alone, AstraZeneca has been charged with 32 company acts, and been fined $1.5billion for different regulations and contraventions. Some of it was for bribery of government officials, others for falsifying data. Considering the crimes this company has committed, it is incredible how these people are allowed to influence anything to do with healthcare.

We can go back to thalidomide and see that all this has been cycling for at least 60 years.  These people have been putting out products that have been harming ordinary people – people who haven’t had a voice until now really. Social media has made a difference.  

Will this fight ever end for me? No, because for every day, for every second, I look down – that’s missing. It reminds me of injustice that has happened to me and to thousands out there who are not quite strong enough to stand up and say: ‘No, I am not doing this.’ 

I was interviewed on Indian TV and I found out that they have used 1.7billion does of AstraZeneca over there. Half the population. I was told privately that they are having a massive problem because their government won’t even talk about it. So this is global, it is not just one place.  

Speaking out

I don’t blame the public; most are just going with what they have been told. And if the public see papers like Rolling Stone [Alex was on the front cover in January 2023] labelling me as an antivaxxer and a conspiracy theorist, that gives them open free game to give us all the abuse that you can imagine. You wouldn’t believe some of the things that have been said to me: ‘You should have died’; ‘You should have lost both legs’; ‘Could you not have lost your tongue?’ I have been called a grifter. I am still trying to get my head around that one. A crisis actor – I was also called that once. That was quite impressive.  

I am nothing special, I am just a guy from the east end of Glasgow. The only difference between me and others is I know how strong I am. You don’t know how strong you are until that is all you’ve got. It is just knowing where it is. I am not here for your love, your pity, your sympathy. The reality is this could have happened to anyone. That comes from the people who certified my injury. This is not genetic. It is so important that it is never allowed to happen again. My trust in 99 per cent of the medical profession is gone. My respect for them will never be the same. The last time I trusted people in the medical profession, it didn’t go so well for me. 

Moving beyond judgment    

I say to people, move beyond asking people ‘who got it’, ‘why they got it’, ‘when they got it’.  It doesn’t matter. For those who didn’t – brave, well done. Let it stay that way, don’t let them get to you. The only thing I don’t like is that certain people out there used me as an ‘I told you so’. You get the negativity because you took the vax from the antivaxxers, and the negativity from the pro-vaxxers because you are speaking out. But there is not a human being on this planet who hasn’t been affected in some way. 

The AstraZeneca case.

I am deeply devastated for the 12 families who have had to pull out of the case. I can’t begin to understand how they are feeling, let alone how they are coping. This is just so wrong, on so many different levels. This must change and a full reform of the VDPS is required now more than ever. 

You still have all these politicians saying ‘this is safe and effective’. The only judgment I want to hear is to the perpetrators of this: ‘You are guilty’. And they are. People were being given this when AstraZeneca knew in January 2021 there was a problem with it.

Alex Mitchell and John Watt will be hosting a fundraising event for the vaccine injured on June 2 in Glasgow. The link for anyone interested or who wishes to attend can be found here.  

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Dr Shane Fudge
Dr Shane Fudge
Dr Shane Fudge has been an academic in the field of environment for 20 years.

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