A woman whose partner died after receiving the AstraZeneca Covid-19 vaccine, says the award of a government payment to her is only a partial victory.
The former rock singer, known simply as Zion, died in May 2021, shortly after taking a first dose of the jab. He was 48-years-old.
His fiancée Vikki Spit says Zion was a fit and healthy man who worked out regularly but began to experience severe headaches in the days after his vaccination.
He received an emergency operation to relieve pressure on his brain but could not be saved.
"It's a small victory but nothing can bring back Zi"
Now, Ms Spit has become the first person to learn that she will receive money, in relation to a Covid-19 jab, under the government's Vaccine Damage Payment Scheme.
The VDPS is a long standing mechanism which provides a one-off, tax free payment of £120,000 in cases where, according to the government, vaccines have caused "severe disablement".
Ms Spit told us: "It's a small victory but nothing can bring back Zi.
"The amount of money available to us - a hundred and twenty thousand pounds - sounds like a lot but when you bear in mind I'm going to have to pay back money I've borrowed from family over the last year for funeral expenses and just to survive, it's very little."
Zion and Vikki Spit had been together for more than twenty years. They had moved to the Alston area, on the Northumberland-Cumbria border in 2014 after they stopped performing together on stage. Ms Spit says they had been due to marry.
She is now spearheading calling for changes to the way compensation is granted in Covid vaccine-related cases like Zion's.
Her lawyer, Sarah Moore, is working with more than ninety other families and says the system must be brought up to date, and in line with civil compensation.
"We need to make it bespoke so that each individual's claim is assessed and their losses are assessed.
"We would say there ought to be more rapid progression of the claims and I think the other thing that would be crucial is to make sure that this is also a scheme that is underwritten by the manufacturers."
Meanwhile, the husband of North East radio presenter who died from complications following the AstraZeneca Covid jab has described Ms Spit's payment as a 'small breakthrough.' Lisa Shaw also died in May 2021.
Gareth Eve has applied for the VDPS and says he says he is heartened by the development.
He told us: “I see it as the first step in a bit of a journey really. A first step towards an open and honest conversation between victims and the Government and pharmaceutical companies.
"£120,000 is bizarre. It’s an awful lot of money - it’s a hell of a lot of money - but it’s an insulting amount of money at the same time."
In a statement the Department of Health and Social Care told us: "All Vaccine Damage Payment Scheme (VDPS) claims are medically assessed by an independent, third party medical assessor.
"The NHS Business Services Authority (NHSBSA) has now started to receive outcomes from the independent medical assessor for the first batch of COVID-19 related claims sent for assessment.
"We will contact each claimant directly as soon as we have an update on their individual claim."
More broadly, the government says that more than 140 million doses of Covid vaccines have been administered since the start of the pandemic and says that tens of thousands of lives have been saved as a result.
It says the Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) maintains the benefits of the AstraZeneca Covid-19 jab continue to outweigh the risks for most people.
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