Saturday, June 3, 2023

Doctor died from rare reaction to AstraZeneca Covid jab, UK coroner rules

A doctor died from a rare reaction to the AstraZeneca Covid jab in one of the first rounds of vaccinations, a coroner has ruled.

Dr Stephen Wright, 32, an NHS clinical psychologist and frontline health worker, suffered from a combination of a brainstem infarction, bleed on the brain and vaccine-induced thrombosis, an inquest at London’s Southwark coroner’s court heard.

He was in one of the earliest groups of people to be given the jab, and died 10 days after it was administered.

The coroner Andrew Harris said it was a “very unusual and deeply tragic case”, but noted that the inquest’s conclusion was not “blaming AstraZeneca”.

The MHRA (Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency) is currently investigating the small group of people who had a severe reaction to the jab to understand what causes it, though no government decision has been taken based on their findings yet.

The court heard that Wright, from Sevenoaks, Kent, awoke with a headache on 25 January, and later developed numbness. He attended the A&E department at Princess Royal University hospital in Orpington, Kent, where he was found to have high blood pressure and a sagittal sinus thrombosis.

He was subsequently moved to King’s College hospital at 6.39am, where his condition rapidly deteriorated, but due to the extent of the bleed and very low platelets was considered unfit for surgery, Harris said.

After the inquest, Wright’s widow, Charlotte, said she is considering legal action against AstraZeneca and the government.

She remembered Wright as “the most amazing husband” and a good father to their sons, and said it was a relief to have a “black and white” conclusion.

Medical experts told the court nothing could be done to save Wright. The consultant neurosurgeon Francesco Vergani said platelets provide the body’s first response to try to stop bleeding and are important for clotting, which means that when they are critically low there is no way of performing a successful operation.

Dr Mark Howard, a consultant pathologist and medical examiner at King’s College hospital, said scientists and medical experts were not aware of the vaccine’s possible deadly side effects when Wright received the jab as it was so early in its rollout, but even at later stages there would have been no way of predicting this “rare and unintended consequence”.

He said: “Stephen was a very fit, young and healthy man in January 2021. It is a truly tragic and very rare complication of a well-meant vaccination. It’s not fully understood why this happens. It’s an idiosyncratic reaction. The circumstances arise in a very small number of people.”

An AstraZeneca spokesperson said: “We are very saddened by Stephen Wright’s death and extend our deepest sympathies to his family for their loss. Patient safety is our highest priority and regulatory authorities have clear and stringent standards to ensure the safe use of all medicines, including vaccines.”

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