A mum-of-two says she went from working two jobs to being bed bound for months after developing health complications shortly after she had her covid jab.
Sarah Birch, 46, ended up in an induced coma and on a ventilator for four days after she was diagnosed with the rare and serious Guillain-Barré syndrome (GBS).
Mrs Birch, from Rocester, said her health problems started with dizziness, back ache and tingling in her toes and tongue, and ended up with her collapsing at home.
AstraZeneca, which manufactures the vaccine that she received in May last year, says safety is paramount and that regulators have “clear and stringent standards” to ensure all medicines and vaccines are safe.
Now, an assessment by an independent, third-party medic if Mrs Birch is to be successful in her claim for compensation for her loss of health and earnings from the government’s Vaccine Damage Payment Scheme (VDPS). The former cheese shop worker says her illness has made it impossible for her to work, and that she is in constant pain.
Recent figures, published on the government website, state that as of October 26, an estimated 24.9 million first doses of the AstraZeneca vaccine have been administered since it was rolled out last January. It also states that there have been 246,638 reports of suspected adverse drug reactions to the jab, in the UK.
More than 23,000 participants took part in a clinical trial where they took the AstraZeneca jab. The common suspected side effects reported by some included a headache, fatigue, fever, chills and nausea.
However, the majority of reactions ranged from mild to moderate and usually resolved within a few days after vaccination.
University College London’s Queen’s Square Institute of Neurology has studied the correlation between vaccinations and cases of GBS.
It reported in May this year that researchers had “observed that between January to October 2021, 996 GBS cases were recorded” in the UK, but with an “unusual spike in GBS reports occurring between March and April 2021”.
Their analysis revealed 198 GBS cases occurred within six weeks of the first-dose of Covid-19 vaccines, in England.
Of these, 176 people had had an AstraZeneca vaccination.
The lead author of the research, Professor Michael Lunn, said that “the reason for the association between only AstraZeneca vaccination and GBS is unclear”.
The research also noted that in other mass-vaccination programs such as the swine flu vaccine program in the USA in the 1970s, there was a “small increase in GBS associated with what was a novel flu jab at the time”.
Mrs Birch, who is pursuing a case through the Vaccine Damage Payment Scheme (VDPS) added: “I have been through hell and back through no fault of my own and now I feel like I am left on the shelf. I feel like it’s mental torture. I feel let down and I can’t move on with my life – I need the money because I’ve not got a job.”
More than 69 million doses of AstraZeneca vaccine were given to people in Europe. According to the European Medicines Agency, there were around 360,000 reported cases of suspected side effects.
A spokesman for AstraZeneca said: “The safety of anyone taking AstraZeneca’s vaccine is paramount and regulatory authorities have clear and stringent standards to ensure the safe use of all medicines, including vaccines.”