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HomeCOVID-19Paralysed by the vaccine, ignored by the state

Paralysed by the vaccine, ignored by the state

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FAMILIES with vaccine-injured loved ones find the government’s attitude to their plight insulting and patronising. When someone in good health suddenly develops unexplained and serious symptoms within days of receiving a vaccine, it makes sense to ask whether the vaccine could be to blame.

Last year we reported on the case of security manager, Tony Shingler, 58, who developed paralysing and disabling symptoms three days after his first AstraZeneca Covid vaccine.

For six weeks, health professionals denied any correlation between vaccine injury and Tony’s symptoms. His wife Nicola researched his  condition on the internet but her evidence was dismissed. She said: ‘I was made to feel I was giving them misinformation, and that I was an antivaxxer, it was insulting.

‘I was presenting doctors with scientific papers published by the Lancet and other respected medical and scientific journals to back up what I was saying. This wasn’t information from social media.

‘After Tony’s DNA was given to Genomics England, the company owned by the Department of Health that investigates the causes of rare illness, confirmed that Tony was suffering vaccine injury and he was given the diagnosis of Guillain-Barré syndrome (GBS).

‘In the end, doctors had to accept I knew what was going on and dropped the pretence.

‘MPs weren’t any better. In June 2021, I wrote to my Conservative MP for Stoke-on-Trent Jo Gideon, to say this is what has happened to my husband, please stop the vaccination drive. I got no meaningful response. Her reply said, “I will read your letter with interest.” It wasn’t really supportive in anyway. Tony was in a serious condition and could have died. ‘It wasn’t until three months later, September, that I received a letter from Jo asking me to email details of Tony’s injuries.’Tony’s grown-up daughter Tasha and I also wrote to another 40 MPs and got no response from them either.’

Nicola, 49, was confused by their silence. ‘They know this happens so I can’t understand why there isn’t a group set up to deal with vaccine injury; somewhere families can go to find out what treatment there is and what support there is.’

One of her late-night internet searches unearthed Vaccine Damage Payment Scheme (VDPS) reform campaigner Professor Duncan Fairgrieve, a barrister affiliated with the British Institute of Comparative Law. He wrote about our poor compensation scheme in the Lancet, a paper that does not appear in a Google search. Nicola contacted him putting ‘HELP’ in the email subject line. She said: ‘Professor Fairgrieve told me about the VDPS, and the lawyer Sarah Moore from Hausfeld who is also calling for the VDPS to be reformed told me about the Yellow Card Scheme to report Tony’s adverse reaction. I didn’t know I could do either. No one in the NHS told me.’

Tony, a father and stepfather to four children, deteriorated and within three weeks of receiving his Covid vaccination, was paralysed, admitted to critical care, given a tracheotomy because his lungs were paralysed too, and placed on a ventilator. As he was rushed into ICU at Royal Stoke University Hospital and given the phone to FaceTime his family, potentially for the last time. He was told, ‘say what you’ve got to say,’ said Nicola. ‘He was telling me I love you and I love the kids.

‘We didn’t know if he would survive, and he spent seven months in critical care fully paralysed, he couldn’t even raise a hand. A year on, he is now in rehabilitation, but it will be up to 24 months before we know if he will ever be able to work or walk.’

What their family have been through is extreme trauma caused by a recommended medical procedure, so you would think that our systems were set up to deal with it. Far from it. Nickie and daughter Elly, 19, who has learning difficulties, have been plunged into poverty, existing on Tony’s meagre statutory sick pay, a third of his income, while they fight for him to come home. They applied to the VDPS for help last June but have had nothing yet.

Before being injured, Tony worked a 60-hour week. He had a heart attack 20 years ago but had no ongoing issues and was a fit and healthy family man with a great sense of humour. ‘We talked all the time and laughed all the time. He and Elly were inseparable. She is really upset that he’s not here and she just wants it all to go away,’ said Nickie, who has been with Tony for 22 years. ‘He has paid tax all his life and this is how he’s been repaid.’

The Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency, who monitor adverse reactions to new drugs and run the Yellow Card Scheme, have acknowledged Nicola’s report and subsequent update, but she has heard nothing more.

The VDPS said they would update her by the end of the year. On December 31 she received a call telling her Tony’s claim is still in hand but nothing more.

At the beginning of the pandemic, the VDPS was staffed by just four people and run by the Department for Work and Pensions. They had the responsibility for payments removed from them and the scheme is now run by the NHS Business Services Authority on behalf of the Department of Health and Social Care. The NHSBSA are overwhelmed and advertising for help offering a salary of £23,000 to claims assessment staff.

As vaccine injury lawyer Peter Todd said: ‘This is pretty low-grade money when you’re asking people to assess complex neurology and epidemiology. The medical assessors will work to a script, and they will be advised by the Green Book.’

The NHS Green Book tells its staff about company policy relating to adverse vaccine reactions. In chapter 14a it says: ‘GBS has been reported very rarely within six weeks of AstraZeneca vaccination, and rates appear to be higher than the background rates. This risk would equate to about 5.6 extra cases of GBS per million doses in the six weeks following the first dose of AstraZeneca vaccine, based on an unpublished UK study.’

Meanwhile, Nicola is left to cope. She said: ‘I still cry about it at night. The stress and the financial stress are horrendous. We didn’t want for much and were happy with our annual holiday in St Ives. I literally have enough money just to pay for food and bills.’

The state’s reaction simply undermines their authority. Nicola said: ‘I have completely lost trust in my GP, the NHS, and the government. I wouldn’t believe a word any of them told me any more.

‘Tony’s angry because of what we are suffering. As the man who brought in the wage, he feels he can’t do anything to help us and he’s angry with the government about that.’

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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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