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Sunday, April 14, 2024
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HomeCOVID-19The mistreatment of the vaccine injured – what the Covid Inquiry heard

The mistreatment of the vaccine injured – what the Covid Inquiry heard

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LAST Wednesday, the chair of the Covid Inquiry, Baroness Heather Hallett, listened to the heartrending stories of the vaccine injured and bereaved. In a 20-minute speech that left many of those attending in tears, Anna Morris KC, of Garden Court North Chambers, Manchester, laid bare the truth that so many have tried to suppress. She described suicide, disability and death, the youngest victim being 14 and oldest 76, caused by serious adverse reactions to Covid vaccinations. She described the response to them. She said: ‘The treatment of the vaccine injured in this country has historically been a source of shame.’

Morris represented three British support groups, UK CV Family, the largest advocacy group, the Scottish Vaccine Injury Group (ScottishVIG), and the Vaccine Injured and Bereaved (VIBUK). Below is an edited version of her presentation; the full transcript can be found at the official Covid Inquiry website and begins at page 85 here.

THE UK CV Family is the largest support and advocacy group in the UK for those who have lost a loved one or suffered a life-changing adverse reaction to the Covid-19 vaccine. They are run entirely by volunteers, all of whom are vaccine injured or bereaved themselves. They are focused on the needs of UK-based patients, providing help and support and advocacy, and actively raising awareness within the British healthcare system, the media, and the government.

As of August, this year, the UK CV Family has more than 1,200 members, and approximately 20 people join every week. Membership is about 75 per cent female and 25 per cent male, and ages range from 14 to 76 years old. The most prevalent age range is 45 to 54 years old. Membership is limited to those people who have had an adverse reaction from a vaccine.

There are also two other groups specifically focusing on the needs of those bereaved by the Covid-19 vaccine or caring for those living with the ongoing effects of the adverse reaction. This group has a strict criteria for joining. Those simply curious about vaccines or seeking information for their own agenda are not permitted to join. VIBUK is a group of individuals and families who have either been severely injured or bereaved as a direct and confirmed result of receiving a Covid-19 vaccine in the UK. They are campaigning for the government to reform the Vaccine Damage Payment Scheme, because in our submission it is both inadequate and inefficient. They also run a support group offering support, guidance and raising awareness of vaccine injury and bereavement. The primary causes of these injuries and deaths are vaccine-induced thrombotic thrombocytopenia, or VITT; vaccine-induced vasculitis; stroke; cerebral venus sinus thrombosis, and Guillain-Barré syndrome. Survivors are having to cope with the after-effects of their injuries, including brain damage and physical disablement, whilst the bereaved are struggling to live without their partners, children, or parents. All VIBUK members have a confirmation that their injuries were caused by the Covid-19 vaccine.

The Scottish Vaccine Injury Group is a rapidly growing community of Scottish individuals who have either experienced adverse reactions to or who have been bereaved by the Covid-19 vaccine. In a small number of instances, carers have joined the group on behalf of relatives who are too sick to participate. The group currently has over 200 members and has a core participant status in the Scottish Public Inquiry. All members of the group are screened rigorously to ensure that they are adversely impacted. Collectively, my Lady, we estimate that these three groups, and allowing for some overlap, represent at least 1,350 Covid vaccine adversely impacted individuals. We have no way of knowing exactly the total numbers that have been adversely impacted but it should be assumed that there are others who have not found a support group yet.

May I now turn to why the voices of these groups are critical to your investigation within this Inquiry. We represent the families of those who have lost their loved ones due to an adverse vaccine reaction.

Lisa Shaw, Stephen Ward, Dr Stephen Wright, Vicky Spit’s partner Zion, Neal Miller and Lucy Tabererer lost their lives due to vaccine-induced thrombocytopenia and thrombosis. Neal Miller went into hospital on 7 April 2021 with chest pains. He had a heart attack due to a blood clot, but it was noted his heart was otherwise healthy. He was discharged after three days, even though he could not walk properly. The consultants did not connect the occurrence of a blood clot to the vaccine, despite a connection being widely reported in the media. Neal was a healthy 50-year-old who played sport and looked after his health. His blood clot should have raised alarm bells.

Two days later he collapsed and was diagnosed with numerous further blood clots. Whilst in hospital he became confused and had trouble talking. He underwent an MRI and plasma exchange and was again discharged from hospital. He was at home for only four days before he collapsed and passed away. His family feel that had the connection between the vaccine and his blood clots been made at the first admission, his survival chances would have been greater.

Kenneth Purnell lost his life due to vaccine-induced vasculitis. The partner of Michael Cornwell died due to bilateral cerebral venous thrombosis. Margaret Bailey lost her life from a suppressed immune system due to developing stage 4 lung cancer. From the UK CV Family, Alexandra Kelly lost her mother Anthea, a retired palliative care nurse, to pneumonitis caused by the Covid vaccine. Anthea died within four days of her vaccine, and at an inquest that took place over 18 months after her death, a pathologist confirmed that the vaccine had caused it.

Individuals within the three groups have developed a variety of conditions, including VITT and CVST, Guillain-Barré syndrome, mast cell activation syndrome, significant vision Impairment, rheumatoid arthritis, pericarditis, myocarditis, chronic fatigue syndrome, tinnitus, heart issues, chest pain, brain fog, weakness in their limbs, or have suffered pulmonary embolism or heart attacks. Some have had to undergo amputation. This is not an exhaustive list, my Lady. Many of our clients have experienced delayed diagnosis, which has resulted in permanent damage. And within each of these groups there are a number of bereaved families who were denied proper investigations into the deaths of their loved ones because those deaths occurred at home during a national lockdown.

My Lady, Covid vaccine reactions and bereavements have also had a wider impact on society as a whole. Medical professionals who have experienced an adverse reaction have been unable to work since the beginning of the vaccine roll-out as they were the first to be vaccinated. Our clients can provide case studies of NHS staff who have experienced significant adverse reactions, and in some cases, death. The Scottish Vaccine Injury Group, for example, have several medical professionals who have suffered life-altering reactions. These are specialist medical staff who selflessly put themselves on the front line during the early months of the pandemic and were told, like everyone else, that the vaccines were safe and effective. Some were even told that if they didn’t take the vaccine they wouldn’t be allowed to return to work. We represent one nurse who wishes to remain anonymous: she doesn’t want her work colleagues to know about her vaccine reaction because she isn’t sure of the responses she will encounter.

Two years ago, prior to her vaccine, she had a senior position working 12 hours on night shifts. She is a single parent and her family relies on her income. Four days after her second vaccine, she experienced PV bleeding for no apparent reason, and then three days later was diagnosed with bilateral large volume pulmonary embolism, with right heart strain.

She has battled for two years and now she is managing one nine-hour shift per week in a different role entirely, but that one shift is still extremely challenging for her due to ongoing symptoms. Her life has been turned upside down and she has undergone significant trauma, yet cannot speak about the cause for fear of recrimination.

Another nurse, a specialist theatre nurse, has been diagnosed with vaccine-induced pulmonary fibrosis, a serious and lifelong lung disease that causes permanent lung scarring that progressively worsens overtime. There is no cure, only temporary symptomatic relief. She was told she would lose her job if she didn’t take the vaccine, so despite her misgivings she went ahead because she is a single mother of two children. Now those children are her carers.

My Lady, it’s easy to reel off abstract facts and figures, but these are real people, facing insurmountable hardship, who felt coerced into taking a vaccine in the first place and now can’t even mention their reactions to their colleagues. In addition to their injury and bereavement, those we represent have also experienced a second trauma: a lack of medical knowledge and understanding about the risk and presentation of vaccine injury has left injured people undiagnosed and without treatment.

Furthermore, the prevailing institutional mindset within medical bodies and the government has been fixated solely on acknowledging the benefits of the vaccine. This has led to those reporting vaccine injury to feel disbelieved, unheard, and marginalised. Censorship is a very real issue, my Lady, for the vaccine injured and bereaved. Their support groups have been shut down by social media platforms and their experiences censored by the mainstream media. They have to speak in code online for fear of having their only source of support taken away from them. They face stigma and abuse for sharing their symptoms in the context of the Covid vaccine and even been branded as ‘anti-vax’ for sharing very real and medically proven vaccine injuries.

Care must be taken in the Inquiry’s own examination of the role of social media and ensure that the Inquiry itself doesn’t fall into the trap of further disenfranchising those who’ve experienced vaccine injury. To be clear, those we represent voluntarily participated in the Covid-19 vaccination programme when called upon. A significant number of them encountered adverse reactions following the first vaccine dose. Nonetheless, they were advised by their doctors to proceed with the second dose, their doctors not suspecting any vaccine-related connection.

Those present are concerned that, given the reported return of Covid-19 variants and the discussion in government and the media of a winter vaccine roll-out, that their experiences will once again be censored and ignored as they don’t fit with the government narrative around vaccines. The Covid vaccine injured and bereaved have been marginalised in the past three years, struggling to have their voices and experiences heard, having gone from being fit and healthy people, leading full and active lives, to being disabled and dependent on benefits. They have suffered additional trauma due to the lack of medical, psychological, and financial support available.

These are not people, my Lady, who are dealing with a sore arm or flu-like symptoms, these are people who have had a stroke, a heart attack or lost a limb, people whose bodies are full of clots, people who have had debilitating migraines almost every single day for up to three years, people who now have allergic reactions to everything they consume, even water, and young women who had hoped to become mothers but whose periods have stopped completely.

These are not the normal side effects anybody would reasonably expect from a pharmaceutical product. These are people who have lost their livelihoods, their friends and, in some cases, their families. In addition, the vaccine injured and bereaved can’t process their trauma because they’re fighting every step of the way for recognition, validation, care and support. They can’t express or record their experiences without being misunderstood, misrepresented, or used for somebody else’s agenda.

In August of last year, the UK CV Family lost its first member to suicide and a survey of their members reported 73 per cent have considered suicide. Both UK CV Family and Scottish Vaccine Impact Group regularly deal with suicidal members. All three groups are extremely concerned that in the absence of psychological support for those who are now dealing with a chronic as well as stigmatised illness, this will not be the last suicide within the injured community.

The treatment of the vaccine injured in this country has historically been a source of shame. Neglect and discrimination has been brought to the light through the Covid-19 vaccination roll-out and is now resulting in serious mistrust of British institutions, of the government and of healthcare systems. Trust is vital in the event of future health crises. In order to rebuild trust from the general public, the UK must urgently develop an effective and compassionate means of medically, practically, financially and emotionally supporting the vaccine injured.

The vaccine injured and bereaved have spent the past three years, both individually and as a collective, asking for help from this country’s medical professionals, mainstream media and members of parliament. They have been met with standard responses that promote the vaccine and that completely fail to address the needs of the injured and bereaved.

An analogy can be drawn with listening to someone who has been in a serious car accident and then telling them about all the benefits of cars and then how many people haven’t been killed by cars. No other medical condition or injury is treated in this way.

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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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