Woman whose partner died following a Covid jab calls for greater awareness of rare complications from the Astra Zeneca vaccine. Special report by Ralph Blunsom.
A woman grieving the loss of her partner says he would still be alive if there was more awareness of the rare side effects of the Astra Zeneca Covid-19 vaccination.
Vikki Spit, who lives near Alston, says she would still encourage everyone to have the vaccine - but the symptoms experienced by her partner after receiving the jab weren't treated seriously enough.
Eight days after having his first vaccine injection, Zion, who was 48, started to develop bad headaches. On two occasions ambulances attended.
The second time Zion was taken to hospital, where he underwent an emergency operation.
Vikki told ITV Border: "They called at 4:30 in the morning and they told me that they had had to remove a massive piece of his skull to relieve the pressure on his brain, the pressure was huge, they didn't think he would ever wake up and if he did he would be severely disabled and they believed it was the result of the Astra Zeneca vaccine.
"I woke my landlords up, they drove me to the hospital and I stayed with him until he was declared dead on the 19th May."
The interim fact of death certificate for Zion lists complications of Astra Zeneca Covid-19 virus vaccination as an identified possible factor. Vikki says he should not have died.
She says the first time she called an ambulance they were told he had a migraine and was dehydrated. She says his condition should have been recognised sooner.
"There is documented evidence that shows that this type of brain injury if treated speedily and aggressively, 80% chance of survival", Vicki said:
"He was displaying five of the seven symptoms for the Astra Zeneca vaccine on Saturday when I first called the paramedics but for whatever reason it wasn't recognised, now the inquest will find out why."
The North East Ambulance service have issued a statement in which the medical director describes this as an extreme tragic case.
The statement goes on to say: "We undertake a thorough review of all incidents reported to NEAS... it would not be appropriate for us to comment further until we have further information and completed an investigation."
Public health officials in Cumbria are stressing cases like this are extremely rare.
The county's Public Health Director, Colin Cox, said: "It's a tragic case and my heart goes out to everybody who's involved in that case and the family concerned.
"What I would say is, and I believe that the family themselves have said, that they recognise that vaccination is still hugely safe and hugely effective and the chances of this sort of thing happening are very very rare.
"The risks associated with vaccination are very, very much less than the risks of getting Covid so its critically important still that even though we hear individual tragic stories like this what we mustn't forget is the many hundreds and thousands of very tragic stories of people who have died from covid because they weren't vaccinated at the time.
"It is still vanishingly rare that this sort of this happens, it's rarer than gettin this sort of condition associated with taking the contraceptive pill for example, it's more dangerous to drive your car than to get the Astra Zeneca vaccine so it is a very, very rare occurrence.
"I would really encourage everybody to get themselves vaccinated because it's much safer than getting Covid."
Vicki said : "I don't want anyone else to have to go through this. I am still going to be vaccinated because it is important for people to be vaccinated, but it is also unnecessary for people to die from the vaccinations.
"People are being vaccinated for the good of the whole country, for the good of the whole planet, not just for their own personal wellbeing.
"Zi was not worried about getting Covid but he was worried about giving it to other people. He shouldn't have died."
Vikki says she wants all frontline medical staff to be more aware of the symptoms of reactions to vaccines.
She's also critical of the government scheme setup to provide monetary support to individuals who've suffered as a result of approved vaccines. It's a payment of £120,000 pounds.
Vikkis lawyer, James Bell, says it is too little to compensate for the life of a person like Zion, who's died young.
He said: "The government urgently needs to redesign the vaccine damage payment scheme. t was originally setup in the 1970s to deal with complications apparently arising from a whooping cough vaccine.
"What it doesn't do, it doesn't reflect the problems which are caused by this vaccine, so the legislation needs to be updated as a matter of urgency."
A statement has been iIssued by the department of health and social care: "Vaccines are safe and effective and save lives. The vaccine damage payments scheme provides a financial safety net to help ease the burden on individuals who have, in extremely rare circumstances, experienced harm due to receiving a government-recommended vaccine for a listed disease."
Vikki is now preparing for a life on her own. She and Zion were due to get married later this year. No date has yet been set for an inquest into his death.
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