Nadhim Zahawi on why the AstraZeneca isn't used for boosters
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A mum-of-two who spent four days in a coma after receiving her Covid vaccine has now been diagnosed with a rare and serious condition. Sarah Birch suffered severe health complications after getting jabbed and was put into an induced coma when she collapsed at home.
The 46-year-old from Rochester, Staffordshire, told Stoke-on-Trent Live that her symptoms were mild at first, and she was suffering from dizziness and backache and had tingling in her toes and tongue.
But when she suddenly collapsed, she was taken to hospital where she was put on a ventilator and she remained in a coma for four days.
Mrs Birch was then diagnosed with an extremely rare and serious condition known as Guillain-Barré syndrome which affects the nerves, causing pain, weakness and numbness, mainly in the hands, feet and limbs.
Most people are able to make a full recovery from the disease, but it can occasionally be life-threatening and some people diagnosed with GBS can be left suffering from long-term problems.
Mrs Birch, who is no longer able to work, said: “When they brought me around I was pretty paralysed, I was there for 15 weeks. I have to have monthly treatment.
“I came home six weeks early because I was worried about my son who had dropped out of school because he couldn’t see me in pain. I had a relapse and went back in.”
Ms Birch received the AstraZeneca vaccine in May last year.
The manufacturer says safety is paramount and that regulators have “clear and stringent standards” to ensure all medicines and vaccines are safe.
Now, an independent third-party assessment is taking place to see if Mrs Birch will be successful in claiming compensation for the loss of her health and earnings from the government’s Vaccine Damage Payment Scheme (VDPS).
The former cheese shop worker blames the vaccine for ruining her life, saying: “My life has completely changed. I don’t sleep and am in constant pain.
“It has been a long journey and I feel that if I didn’t have the vaccine my life would be normal.”
The government website says that as of October 26, more than 24.9 million first doses of the AstraZeneca vaccine have been administered since its roll out in January last year.
The same source also says there have been 246,638 reports of suspected adverse reactions to the jab in the UK.
In a trial in which more than 23,000 patients were given the AstraZeneca vaccine, the most commonly reported side effects included headaches, fatigue, fever, chills and nausea.
However, the majority of these reactions were mild or moderate and usually resolved within a few days after the jab.
University College London’s Queen’s Square Institute of Neurology conducted a study into the correlation between the vaccine and cases of Guillain-Barré syndrome, finding that “observed that between January to October 2021, 996 GBS cases were recorded” in the UK.
However, it also noted an “unusual spike in GBS reports occurring between March and April 2021”.
The institute’s 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.
Professor Michael Lunn, lead author of the paper, said the association between the AstraZeneca vaccine and incidences of GBS are “unclear”.
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The research, published in May this year, also noted that there have been links between GBS and other mass-vaccination programmes, including the 1970s swine flu vaccine programme, saying 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.”
Among the 69 million doses of the AstraZeneca covid jab given to people in Europe since its roll out, there have been around 360,000 reported cases of suspected side effects, according to the European Medicines Agency.
An AstraZeneca spokesperson 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.”
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