‘We are completely different people’: Covid injection victims in the fight for justice
Campaigners have criticized the government’s vaccine damage compensation scheme as “not viable” and are demanding reform. It comes as hundreds of Britons who say the Covid-19 injection caused them serious side effects have been denied payment. Campaigners believe the 44-year Vaccine Damage Compensation Scheme (VDPS) is not helping applicants.
It is intended to provide a lump sum tax-free payment of £120,000 to families and individuals who have lost loved ones (or at least 60 per cent of the disabled) due to vaccination.
But individuals and families who say they have been harmed by the coronavirus shot have told the Daily Express that the 60 percent disability threshold is too high and they are stopping filing damage claims.
Their fight is backed by politicians, including Conservative MP Danny Krueger.
The scheme also faced a backlog due to the pandemic.
Campaigners say that at times the process was overseen by just “eight” medical experts who processed nearly 4,000 Covid vaccination injury claims. They are supported by Express Justice for Injection Victims.
Freedom of information data shows that as of February 8, only 878 cases have been adjudicated – only one in four. And so far, only 44 claims have been paid, totaling over £5 million.
Mobile home owner Mark Kerry, 50, suffered cardiac arrest and a cerebral hemorrhage two weeks after his first AstraZeneca shot in March 2021.
He developed vaccine-induced thrombocytopenia (VITT), a rare condition that combines blood clotting and low platelets.
Surgeons saved his life by performing a thrombectomy to remove the clot. But the grandfather of two now suffers from “constant” headaches and fatigue and takes medication to prevent further attacks.
His claim for compensation under the VDPS was denied last December because his disability was estimated at only 15 percent – primarily because he can no longer use the three fingers on his left hand.
His wife Melanie, 50, said their case was “swept under the rug.” She added: “Mark can take medication for the rest of his life.
“But they don’t think he should be compensated for it when they admit it was caused by the vaccine.”
Claire Hibbs, 49, also developed VITT but was turned down because her disability was between 16 and 25 percent. The former chief operating officer of the airline has now quit her beloved job for health reasons due to migraines, chronic fatigue and brain fog.
She says she also developed post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).
Claire’s VDPS report seen by the Express says that the AstraZeneca shot caused blood clots but not her chronic fatigue and migraine, “although it is recognized that some fatigue may be associated with VITT.” Her symptoms were partly related to a history of migraines, menopause, and “constant stress at work.”
The mother-of-two said: “Lawyers told me that I would not reach the 60 percent disability level because I did not have a head injury. I haven’t lost a limb, I’m not blind or deaf.” The lost work rate is based on a model that has been used for decades to define work accidents.
Sarah Moore, a lawyer who supports families, calls the rules “outdated, counterproductive and unfair” and criticizes the VDPS’ long wait times.
The figures show that by February 8, more than 327 applicants had been waiting for a decision for more than 12 months, with 81 people waiting for at least 18 months.
The plaintiffs also informed Ms. Moore of inappropriate autopsy reports, medical records, and photographs. She said: “These delays and shortcomings of the VDPS add a very serious insult to the trauma and grief that applicants already have to deal with. Other countries process applications faster and more efficiently for citizens affected by vaccines.”
Meanwhile, Express listened to a recording from October last year in which the plaintiff asks the VDPS telephone operator if there are “a total of eight medical examiners” in total.
The operator replies: “Yes, something like that.”
The NHS Business Services Authority, which administers the scheme on behalf of the Department of Health and Human Services, told the Express that the medical assessments were carried out by a third party and the number of assessors was “flexible to meet the scheme’s needs”. .
It is estimated that for one particular week in November 2022, there was a “pool of approximately 40 trained assessors”.
Last year, NHS Business Services contracted claims management firm Crawford & Company to handle between 1,500 and 1,800 claims in the first year. Before the Covid crisis, VDPS processed about 100 applications annually.
The Express also saw internal NHS Business emails from last October saying employees are “under pressure from DHSC to see increased capacity.” One email states that “ministers are asking questions” about the speed with which claims are being processed, and “Now we need to see a steady stream of completed claims.”
Bedridden Simon Clarke, 47, is still waiting for VDPS results almost two years later.
A father of four developed Guillain-Barré syndrome, a rare debilitating neurological disease that causes paralysis, severe pain and numbness, after being injected with AstraZeneca in March 2021.
He spent three months in intensive care and was left with a form of the condition called chronic inflammatory demyelinating polyneuropathy. He was recently hospitalized again with multiple clots in his lungs. Simon of Basildon, Essex, said, “I burst into tears thinking, ‘This is it.’
He now lives in his front room on the first floor. Unable to work and pay bills, he is under a debt relief order and his wife receives counseling support.
Simon added: “My wife is wonderful, she does everything for me. She empties my urine bottles every day. It’s not like marriage.” He insists his statement is not about money, adding: “It’s about recognition. I just want the government to say that vaccines can cause certain diseases and say, “We’re sorry, and here’s what we’re going to do about it.”
Another person, speaking anonymously, called their process “terrible” and the injured people a “dirty secret” of the government. They added, “We are completely different people because of what happened to us. It absolutely traumatized me.” Mr Krueger wrote to Health Minister Maria Caulfield that the VDPS “couldn’t handle the flood of claims following the rollout of the Covid-19 vaccine.”
He added: “The eligibility criteria for payments are unnecessarily high. [DHSC] the operation of the scheme should be reviewed to expedite claims filing and broaden eligibility criteria for payments.” DHSC stated: “We are working with the NHS Office of Business Services on claims filed under the Vaccine Injury Payment Scheme as quickly as possible, with a team of social workers dedicated to informing complainants.
“All vaccines used in the UK have been clinically proven to be robust and meet the strict safety, efficacy and quality standards of the Medicines and Health Products Regulatory Agency.”
As of December 2022, only 59 deaths from Covid vaccines have been officially recorded.
What is the Vaccine Damage Compensation Scheme
The Vaccine Damage Compensation Scheme (VDPS) became law in 1979 following claims that the whooping cough vaccine caused brain damage in children.
The initial qualifying disability rate was set at 80 percent but was later lowered to 60 percent.
Since then, the scheme has hardly changed its eligibility criteria. The original payment of £10,000 was increased to £120,000 in 2007, but not adjusted for inflation.
Applicants must provide medical evidence of death or 60 percent disability, whether mental or physical, from physicians and hospitals.
Families say £120,000 is not enough to cover long-term loss of income and treatment.
VDPS is not considered a compensation scheme because people can go to court.
But there has never been a successful trial against vaccine manufacturers in the UK because all vaccines come with a small risk of complications.
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Commentary by Peter Todd, Vaccine Injury Lawyer
Vaccination is an incredibly important public health program in the UK.
People must maintain confidence in the national program and be confident that in the event of a serious adverse reaction to a vaccine, they will be treated fairly and supported.
Therefore, I am genuinely puzzled that the government treats vaccinated people with hostility, delay and injustice.
All the people I help with vaccine injuries have decided to get vaccinated and put their trust in the system.
They were not against vaccination, as they agreed to vaccination.
All major developed countries have adopted vaccine reimbursement systems. Despite the fact that we have one of the most advanced vaccination programs, our system of compensation for side effects is one of the most effective.
You will receive more compensation in a developing country.
Thus, the UK’s statutory compensation scheme needs to be reformed to be fit for purpose.
The £120,000 offered for a serious disability is not enough.
There should be no delay of more than 18 months in processing applications for an initial decision.
Your application should not be rejected just because your permanent disability due to the injection is less than 60 percent.
There are a large number of glaring shortcomings that are currently fueling distrust of vaccines in a way that is not in the public interest.
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