Why Has the Government Still Not Compensated the Vaccine Injured and Bereaved?

There follows a guest post by Claire Hibbs, who was injured by the AstraZeneca vaccine and is now part of a group campaigning for a proper compensation scheme for those injured or bereaved by the Covid vaccines.

In late 2020, nine months into the COVID-19 pandemic, it was announced that a Covid vaccine had been approved and was being rolled out to stop the spread of the virus and save lives, ready for use in December 2020.

This was exciting news for many. Our lives had been placed on hold for far too long and we were ready to resume our lives as they were pre-pandemic; the vaccine was our way out. We all waited patiently for our turn to have our first jab. While waiting, the media was full of stories of how wonderful these vaccines were and that we absolutely must get this jab. It was suggested if you don’t get the jab you are being selfish. The Prime Minister and Cabinet ministers were telling us daily on TV that we must have it, as well as every news channel and road signs everywhere telling us the same; GPs were sending letters, flyers were coming through the door, doctors were all over the TV with some doctors even suggesting the AstraZeneca vaccine was 100% safe and effective. This of course was what we were all hoping for and most of us believed.

My turn came on March 31st 2021, slightly early for my age group (48), but I helped out an elderly gentleman who lived on my road who was quite poorly so I wanted to protect him.

I took my jab as told to do so and all seemed fine. Five days later was when things changed. In the afternoon of the bank holiday Monday, all of a sudden I had a thunderbolt of a headache. I began to shiver and started to feel nauseous. I had to lie down as I felt so poorly. This continued for five days but got worse. By the Friday I was in a CT scanning machine in A&E. Fortunately, the scan came back clear and I was told I had a migraine and I could go home – but as a migraine sufferer from childhood I knew this was not a migraine.

I insisted on further tests; fortunately, they agreed to do some blood tests. It was then they quickly realised something was wrong. I was admitted and sent for an MRI the following day, which again came back clear. I wasn’t really sure what was going on. The nurses were telling me that the results of my D-Dimer and platelets were dangerously abnormal and were critical. I had no idea what these were and, being very dazed on morphine, didn’t really understand what was happening. I was eventually told I was at very high risk of blood clots so they needed to keep me in longer, especially as I still had the agonising headache. Days later I developed more excruciating pains, this time in my abdomen and the morphine wasn’t touching the pain. I was sent for more scans, this time revealing blood clots in my portal vein extending to my splenic vein and mesenteric vein, basically all around my liver. I was placed on more drips and medications. The next day was the turn of the chest pains, with more scans revealing blood clots on my lungs. It became evident I was very ill. I felt myself deteriorating and was convinced I wasn’t going to make it through the night.

The haematologist explained to me that this was a new condition called vaccine induced thrombotic thrombocytopenia (VITT) caused by the AstraZeneca vaccine. The headaches were pre-VITT, basically microvascular clots forming in the brain which were not visible on scans. I was given the newly recommended treatment, which began to work very quickly and after a few days my blood levels began to improve. Without the treatment that I received this would have developed into CVST and had I gone home from A&E when told to I probably wouldn’t be here today. After 16 days, I was discharged from hospital with my list of medications that I would now be taking and instructions that I will now be attending hospital appointments on a regular basis. What I didn’t know was how poorly I would continue to be. I will now be under the care of the haematologist and the hepatologist life-long, as I am now left with problems around my liver. I will have to endure an endoscopy every year for the rest of my life

When I found out I had blood clots from the AstraZeneca vaccine, it took me back to an article I’d read in the paper just before I had my jab about blood clots. I quickly found the article online and it was as I remembered. It stated that AstraZeneca had claimed there was no evidence to suggest the blood clots were linked to the vaccine. I also found the statement AstraZeneca had published confirming this.

But now we know they are linked.

While I was in hospital, just weeks after reading that report, more reports were starting to emerge but this time stating there may be a link and that AstraZeneca was no longer recommended for under 40s. I had a panic then, lying in my hospital bed knowing that the vaccine was about to be rolled out to the under 50s.I decided to write to as many media outlets as I could as I wanted to warn people of the symptoms to be aware of, and to not ignore a headache or be sent home from hospital being told it’s a migraine. I never had a reply and this warning was never released in any media outlets or spoken about.

It could have saved lives. It could have saved Zion, who died from CVST, a blood clot on the brain (VITT), on May 19th 2021. Zion, who was 48 and extremely fit and healthy, started suffering from a severe headache following his AstraZeneca vaccine. His partner Vikki called an ambulance as it became so severe, but they told him it was just a migraine. Two days later Vikki called an ambulance again as Zion’s speech started to slur. This time Zion was taken to hospital – still unaware of the warning signs of this fatal blood clotting disorder, it was still thought this was just a migraine. Hours later Zion was rushed to surgery but, unfortunately, later died. Zion had the vaccine to protect others and save lives; he was an organ donor so continues to save lives even after his death. Zion left behind Vikki Spit, his partner of 21 years, whom he was due to marry, but which had unfortunately been postponed due to the pandemic. Vikki continues to suffer emotionally, physically and mentally and is part of the group Vaccine Injured and Bereaved U.K. (VIBUK).

Leanne Tomlin, also a member of VIBUK, tragically lost her stepmother Lucy Taberer on April 10th 2021, also following blood clots on the brain (CVST), diagnosed as VITT. Lucy was taken to hospital on April 1st, 12 days following her AstraZeneca vaccine. She was suffering from a range of side effects including rashes, bruising and swelling, and then suffered a mini stroke. As her symptoms worsened, Lucy was given various treatments followed by surgery to try to relieve pressure on her brain, but a massive stroke finally ended Lucy’s life. Lucy, a 47 year-old mother of three, also left behind her partner Mark. They were due to get married on May 4th, the day of Lucy’s funeral. Lucy also leaves behind her six year-old son Orson, who will now grow up without his mother.

Stephen Ward was 57 when he also died from this same condition. Stephen got his AstraZeneca vaccine on March 12th 2021. Stephen had already had Covid in November 2020, but felt he needed to get the vaccine as he was caring for his elderly mother and wanted to protect her. Eight days following the vaccine, Stephen started to feel unwell with a persistent headache which continued for days. Then stroke-type symptoms also developed – Stephen lost the ability to speak and developed weakness on his right side, making it difficult for him to walk unaided. His wife Sheila called for an ambulance and he was taken to hospital, receiving treatment for an arterial stroke. A further scan revealed a bleed and a blood clot on the brain. Stephen went on to have several seizures and, following attempted surgery, Stephen tragically died. Sheila and son Joe, also VIBUK group members, lost Stephen on March 23rd 2021, 11 days after his AstraZeneca vaccine.

Adrian Walker, 47, was like me one of the ‘lucky unlucky ones’. He was diagnosed with VITT, but fortunately survived. Adrian had his AstraZeneca vaccine on February 16th 2021 and was admitted to hospital on March 1st. He had blood clots in his portal vein and multiple blood clots on his lungs. Adrian spent 34 days in hospital, 17 of which he was fed through a tube. On March 8th, Adrian’s wife was called and told to expect end of life. Luckily, Adrian survived, but is now battling with debilitating side-effects, including severe respiratory symptoms and chronic fatigue amongst other symptoms. He is now unable to work due to his disability and cannot live independently. He is also a member of VIBUK.

There are so many more who have died, but we don’t hear about them. We have now come to realise it is all covered up. Eighty-one people of the 443 cases of VITT in the U.K. died as a result of the AstraZeneca vaccine, and this is only the figure from diagnosed cases. How many people never went to hospital or were turned away but somehow survived? We will never know. The rest, like me, are left with debilitating side-effects. Over one year on and life has changed for all of us with this condition. And this is not the only condition caused by the AstraZeneca vaccine.

Tony Shingler, now 58, had his first AstraZeneca vaccine on March 5th 2021. After 10 days, Tony started to get pins and needles in his hands and legs. After a battle with GPs just to get seen, Nicola, Tony’s wife, called 111, which sent an ambulance. Tony was taken to A&E, who told him it was sciatica and sent him home. Knowing this was not the case, and after a further two weeks of battling and the pains extending to the rest of his body, Tony was finally admitted to the neurology department. Following more tests, on March 29th 2021 Tony was told by the specialists that the level of proteins in his lumbar puncture results led them to believe this was caused by the AstraZeneca vaccine and he was diagnosed with Guillain Barre Syndrome (GBS).

Tony’s condition became critical and he was rushed to ICU, where he was intubated. Nicola was told on FaceTime to say what she had to say as he possibly may not make it. Fortunately, he did, but he spent the next seven and a half months on a ventilator and the remainder of his time in hospital in the neurology rehabilitation unit. Tony was discharged last week after spending 14 months in hospital. He now cannot walk unaided and will need a stairlift and a wheelchair. He has lost his job and has not received any help or a penny from the Vaccine Damage Payment Scheme (VDPS). Nicola will now care for Tony, and they are both part of the VIBUK group. According to the MHRA Yellow Card reporting system, there have been 497 cases of GBS and five deaths reported to date, all said to be triggered by the AstraZeneca vaccine.

These are just a few of the 95 people in our group VIBUK. I could go on and on, as I have met so many people whose lives have been ruined. We were all brought together by a solicitor who very early on realised the scale of this problem; Sarah Moore from Hausfeld Solicitors has been our saviour. She very quickly brought 95 of us together by setting up monthly Skype meetings and helping us all with our claims for the Vaccine Damage Payment Scheme. Something for which we were thankful was that there was a scheme in place that would help us financially. I was now off sick from work and it was looking highly unlikely I’d be returning anytime soon. This was a common theme for most of the group – and then you have the bereaved families and loved ones, who on top of their grief have the expense of funerals and the loss of an income. So we should be thankful for this scheme, right? Wrong.

We realised that it wasn’t going to be straightforward making this claim, and also that our experiences were not very welcome in an open discussion. It became apparent that this was all being covered up and hidden. I’d put posts on Facebook about my experience but they were being taken down, so I went to Twitter. I hadn’t used Twitter much so wasn’t sure about it, but it quickly emerged that there were so many people trying to talk there about vaccine damage but were being ignored. I then started to realise that there was nothing in the media, anywhere, and injuries and deaths were being covered up. All of these people looking for help were being censored and the mainstream media were turning a blind eye. Then we realised it wasn’t just the media, it was our Government, too – the same Government which told us to have this vaccine; they were clearly ignoring us.

We also couldn’t take legal action against any of the vaccine companies for these injuries and deaths because the Government had given them legal indemnity, letting them off the hook if it all went wrong – almost as if they knew this would happen, which it did for many of us. So I wrote to my own MP countless times, but had no response again. This was a recurring pattern. I was also blocked by AstraZeneca on Twitter as I was asking questions which it didn’t like. We were being called anti-vaxxers, we were called liars and we were laughed at. Over a year later, nothing has changed; we are still being ridiculed, ignored, denied and censored.

So going back to the VDPS, let me tell you a bit about it. Basically, it’s not fit for purpose.

It can provide a one-off payment of £120,000 for people injured or bereaved by a vaccine. The payment has been at this level since 2007 and has not increased with inflation. There are two eligibility requirements to qualify. First, causation: the injury or death must be proved to be caused by the vaccine. This shouldn’t be a problem for most of us in this group as we have confirmed diagnosis and coroner’s reports and death certificates stating the vaccine to be the cause of death. Well, you would think so anyway.

Secondly, for the survivors you have to be deemed as 60% disabled. Already I can see a problem: who decides who is and what constitutes ‘60% disabled’? I am unlikely to be deemed as 60% disabled but was unable to work for over a year due to the debilitating side-effects of this illness. I have had to return to work due to lack of income but at a fraction of the hours I worked pre-jab. Nonetheless, I’ll unlikely be entitled to a VDPS payment as the Government’s ‘safe and effective’ vaccine hasn’t quite injured me enough! Am I supposed to be grateful? And now the VDPS has said in a reply to Sheila Ward: “Where causation is clearly established and death occurs as a direct result of vaccination it would be a key consideration in determining severity of disability. However, it is not as simple as saying death in itself constitutes 60% disability since each claim will have to be considered on its own merits”. So there is no guarantee that even the bereaved will be awarded this payment. Why? Aren’t we all suffering enough? Why does it have to be so difficult? Can the bereaved not grieve in peace? Can the injured not focus on their recovery?

I speak on behalf of all of us with VITT, GBS and the many other illnesses, many of us still unable to work as before, not yet compensated by the Government and who may never be. Most of us put our claims in over a year ago now and no one has had a payout yet, not even the bereaved. The VDPS is not satisfied that coroner’s reports and death certificates are proof enough, so it’s doing its own investigations, No, that doesn’t make sense and is a complete waste of time and resources. The latest update is it could be another six months before any payments are made. There have been approximately 1,300 claims submitted for the Covid vaccine. It is clear it is not a priority for the VDPS or the Government. This is not fair.

Through our solicitors we have been trying to get the attention of the Government to find out if there is anything that can be done about this, but ministers and MPs have completely ignored us, apart from Sir Christopher Chope MP. Sir Christopher realised there was a problem and quickly began working on a campaign to try to get the VDPS reformed, which is easier said than done.

Sir Christopher first raised this issue in June 2021, when he realised the Government was failing the people who had done the right thing and were then injured or bereaved as a result. He presented his private member’s bill to reform the VDPS, which was briefly debated last September, where he called for an independent review of the scheme and better compensation for those who have suffered. He then presented the first reading of his private member’s bill in The House of Commons in March 22nd 2022, where a full house rapidly reduced to around six members, demonstrating the lack of interest and importance of this matter. The bill was passed for a second reading and was due to be heard on the May 6th. Unfortunately, this was postponed due to it being holiday season. Since then, a (random) ballot has taken place to select the private member’s bills to be heard this session, but unfortunately Sir Christopher Chope’s bill was not picked. We now know the Government has no legislative plans on this subject for this session. Sir Christopher Chope is hoping that someone who is successful in the ballot will take up this cause.

Sir Christopher has worked tirelessly in supporting us and we thank him immensely and appreciate all of his efforts since the start. But we must continue to fight on behalf of every vaccine injured and bereaved person. So it was decided we need to start our own campaign. A group has been set up, VIBUK, which stands for Vaccine Injured and Bereaved U.K. We are campaigning for a bespoke vaccine damage payment scheme for those injured or bereaved by the COVID-19 vaccines. We believe there should be a bespoke compensation scheme for these vaccines because of the indemnities given to the manufacturers preventing legal action and because it was all done so quickly during a pandemic – an unprecedented situation which requires something tailored to these particular vaccines.

This will be a scheme where it doesn’t take a year to find out your medical records have only just been requested. One where if you have been bereaved, you will very quickly get a payout, which will take away some of the agonising worry on top of the grief that is so raw. One where if you have been so badly injured that you cannot work, then you will be adequately and quickly compensated so it does not add to the anxiety, panic and stress. One where you won’t have to spend months trying to prove that you are genuinely sick. And one where you don’t have to keep making phone calls and calling for help from your Government because it continuously ignores you, adding more stress and anxiety to your grief and suffering. One where it gives you enough money to help you try to move on with your life, either living with an illness or living without your loved one and being able to provide for your children, your family and save your home. And one where you are recognised for being injured by a vaccine that was said to be safe, that your own Government told you you must have; one where you will be looked after for doing what the Government said was the right thing.

Please support our campaign, for us and for the people of the future, so they don’t have to experience the trauma so many of us are going through right now. Please support the campaign by signing up on the website, where you can also follow our progress as it is updated with the latest information, media events, petitions and information on our members. You can also follow us on Twitter.

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August 2022
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