Man calls for more Government support after vaccine reaction 'nightmare'
A MAN from Ball Hill, who is still unable to walk properly 13 weeks after having his first AstraZeneca jab, is urging the Government to provide more support to ‘vaccine victims’.
More than three months after receiving his first dose on March 21, Nick Pitcher, 54, still has no sensation from his knees down, while his hands and arms are 'constantly shaking'.
Despite his ordeal the father-of-two, who used to play cricket for Falkland and football for Cold Ash, Kintbury Reserves, Ramsbury and Hermitage, said he is not an anti-vaxer and didn’t want to put people off having the jab.
However, he said that “while adverse reactions like his were fortunately rare” he wanted to make it clear the Government “needed to do more to help people when things do go wrong”.
Speaking to the NWN, he said: “Before the jab I was very fit. I was going cycling three or four times a week during lockdown and would happily cycle 50 miles in the summer.
“I was in very good health, but literally the day after the vaccine I started to feel quite unwell, not terrible, but a bit fluey.
“That went on for about a week. The next week I didn’t feel so bad, just really tired.
“Then in the third week I was sat at my desk working and my feet just went numb then it started creeping up my legs and shins. I had a bit of a panic attack and called 111 and was taken to hospital.
“They sent me home and told me not to worry, but I knew something wasn’t right, so I kept going back.
“Finally, after a week of this, the guy in the acute assessment unit said: ‘I think it might be something to do with the vaccine’."
Tests revealed he has developed Guillain-Barré Syndrome (GBS), a disorder of the immune system where the nerves are attacked by immune cells which in turn causes weakness and tingling in the arms and legs.
The condition varies in severity, but can cause temporary paralysis and there is currently no known cure.
While the exact cause is unknown, GBS is found to be associated with respiratory or gastrointestinal viral infection such as influenza and, in rare cases, vaccinations.
Mr Pitcher said a neurologist at Basingstoke Hospital has since confirmed his diagnosis as postvaccinal immune-mediated acute inflammatory motor neuropathy, caused as a direct result of the vaccine.
While in hospital, he was treated with immunoglobulin - which suppresses the immune response – but he is still experiencing the symptoms now, three months on.
Mr Pitcher, who used to play gigs in and around Newbury in a band called The Side Project, said he had “been living a bit of nightmare ever since March”, adding: “My physical and mental health has just gone downhill.
“I’m still unable to walk properly and my hands are constantly fizzing and shaking.
“It has been an emotional rollercoaster. I have basically been a prisoner in my own home for two and a half months.
"I’ve had some very dark days when it has been impossible to talk about it. I’ve been trying hard to keep positive, but it’s very easy to get emotional.
“I have never been quite so depressed as I’ve been in the last three months.”
Under legislation passed in 1979, people who suffer harm from vaccines can claim damages from the government of up to £120,000.
But to do so, victims must prove that they are at least 60 per cent disabled as a result of vaccination.
Medicine experts, lawyers and families are now calling for a complete overhaul of the ‘archaic and outdated’ Vaccine Damage Payments Act so it provides better support for people affected.
A petition has been set up by Charlotte Wright, the wife of Stephen Wright, who experts believe was the first man in the UK to die as a direct result of being vaccinated.
Mr Pitcher said: “Currently, there is support if you are permanently disabled, but nothing if the disability is temporary.
“With Guillain-Barré Syndrome, they say it can take anything from three months to two years to recover, so it is considered temporary.
“It’s been three months now, but there’s been little change so far. I wake up every morning hoping I will see an improvement.
“I just have to keep going and take each day as it comes. There’s not much else I can do.”
Mr Pitcher, who grew up in Newbury and Thatcham and attended Kennet School as a youngster, added: “The Government wants everyone to have the vaccine, and rightly so.
“But they don’t seem to want to help a very small minority of people for who it has gone wrong.”
To view or sign the petition, visit https://petition.parliament.uk/petitions/587380