Dozens of patients and families whose lives have been damaged by serious reactions to the Oxford/AstraZeneca Covid vaccine have launched legal action against the pharmaceutical company. The i has the story.
While the vaccine is widely credited with protecting many millions of people from the virus, 81 patients died and 364 suffered severe reactions, some of them resulting in catastrophic injuries as a result of blood clots caused by the jab. Legal action is now being taken against AstraZeneca by the families of 19 people who died after being vaccinated and 54 patients who suffered severe reactions but survived.
Strokes, paralysis and repeated blood clots are among the symptoms of those who suffered very rare [sic] but severe reactions to the vaccine. Many have gone from being fit and healthy to being left struggling to walk and talk, with little hope of getting better…
The 54 members of the class action group who survived the reaction have been diagnosed as having vaccine-induced immune thrombotic thrombocytopenia (VITT), a rare condition that has been identified after COVID-19 vaccination.
Lawyers representing the group, who are pursuing personal injury compensation in addition to a Vaccine Damage Payments Scheme claim, argue that the AstraZeneca vaccine was “not as safe as the public were entitled to expect” and that the case is not about finding fault “but about the reasonable expectation of safety”. They claim people were provided with a false picture of safety and efficacy and expect the number joining the lawsuit to increase.
Vaccine-induced immune thrombotic thrombocytopenia affects approximately one in 50,000 AstraZeneca vaccine recipients under 50 years-old, and one in 100,000 for those aged 50 and older in England, according to the NHS, which says the effect of the blood clots can be devastating.
AstraZeneca vaccinations were first administered on January 4th 2021 as part of a rapid rollout of jabs by the NHS. Just a few weeks earlier, Margaret Keenan, 90, had become the first person in the world to receive the Pfizer jab following its clinical approval. By September 2022, almost 25 million first doses of the Oxford/AstraZeneca vaccine and 27.2 million of the Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine had been administered in the U.K. Around 50 million AstraZeneca doses have been given in total.
As part of the drive to get vaccines developed and on the market quickly, the U.K. Government had early in the pandemic granted the pharmaceutical giants a legal indemnity protecting them from being sued by patients in the event of any complications. This means that if AstraZeneca has to pay compensation it will be covered by the taxpayer.
The Vaccine Damage Payments Scheme (VDPS) has received 4,017 applications for compensation of which 1,013 have, as of March 6th, been resolved. Of those, 622 related to the AstraZeneca vaccine, 348 for the Pfizer vaccine and 43 for the Moderna vaccine, according to a Freedom of Information request published by the NHS Business Authority this week. All of the claims relate to disability.
Health Minister Maria Caulfield told Parliament last month that 48 VDPS claims had been successful. All of them are understood to relate to the AstraZeneca vaccine. “Medical reasons” were cited for the majority of cases being rejected. The number of administration staff working for the scheme has increased from four to 80 in recent months as the Government aims to speed up the process.
The scheme provides a one-off tax free payment, currently £120,000, to successful applicants where a vaccine has caused severe disablement. It does not prejudice the right of the disabled person to pursue a claim for damages through the courts. To qualify for a payment, an applicant needs to establish that they meet two main criteria: on the balance of probabilities, the vaccine caused disability, and that the resulting disablement is severe, classified as 60% or more.
The lawyers are calling upon the Government to “appropriately support” the vaccine injured and bereaved. Pre-action protocol letters have been sent to the Cambridge-based Anglo-Swedish company, which has yet to formally respond to the claims. Lawyers representing the AstraZeneca claimants expect more people to join the lawsuit given that more than 400 people have been recorded as suffering from blood clots.
Peter Todd, consultant solicitor with Scott-Moncrieff & Associates Ltd, is representing 33 of the claimants and told i: “According to the MHRA, in the U.K. up to November 23rd 2022 there had been 445 reports of major blood clots (thrombosis) with concurrent low platelets (thrombocytopenia) reported after AstraZeneca Covid vaccine, including, tragically, 81 deaths.
“These include strokes, heart attacks, amputations and other major life-changing injuries. This is an unusually large number of very serious injuries to have been caused by a vaccine. We expect to be able to establish in court that these clots were likely caused by the vaccine.”
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