Husband of BBC radio presenter who died after Covid vaccine to sue AstraZeneca

Lisa Shaw, 44, died three weeks after receiving her first shot in May 2021 due to vaccine-induced rare blood disorder

Lisa Shaw, 44, who worked for BBC Radio Newcastle, died three weeks after receiving her first dose of AstraZeneca covid vaccine in May 2021. PA
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The widower of a BBC radio presenter who died due to complications from the Oxford-AstraZeneca Covid vaccine plans to take legal action against the manufacturer.

Lisa Shaw, 44, who worked for BBC Radio Newcastle, died three weeks after receiving her first shot in May 2021.

Ms Shaw, a mother of one, was diagnosed with a blood clot and received treatment, including cutting away part of her skull to reduce the pressure, but it did not work and she died in May 2021.

A coroner concluded she “died due to complications of an AstraZeneca Covid vaccine” due to vaccine-induced thrombotic thrombocytopenia in August of that year.

The condition results in swelling and bleeding in the brain.

Her husband, Gareth Eve, said he tried to engage with the government in the months and years after her death, but did not receive a response.

He is among a group of families who have lost relatives due to alleged side effects from the AstraZeneca vaccine.

“It's not in my make-up to turn around and say I want to sue somebody but for almost two years we've tried to engage with the government and tried to engage with MPs since Lisa died and not one of them has reached out or engaged with us at all,” Mr Eve told the BBC.

“Any engagement is fleeting at best so that's the reason that we're left with no alternative — if the government or AstraZeneca don't want to engage with us then what else are we supposed to do?”

Lawyers for the group sent the company a letter in November in the first step of legal action by the 75 claimants. They include the family members of people who lost their lives, such as Mr Eve, as well as those who survived with injuries.

“We're not crackpots or conspiracy theorists, we're husbands and wives and family members who have lost somebody — that's all it is,” Mr Eve said.

“Whatever the money it's not going to bring my son's mam back.”

He said “too many people” had suffered injuries due to the vaccine.

“We're made to feel like it's a dirty secret, that we're talking about something we shouldn't be talking about,” Mr Eve said.

“It's established it's been caused by AstraZeneca's Covid vaccination — it's not about Covid, it's not about how many lives the Covid vaccination has saved, it's about what this vaccination has done to Lisa and other families and not about how successful it was or whether somebody is anti-vax.”

A solicitor representing the families has said damages are being pursued on the basis that the vaccine was a “defective product in that it was not as safe as consumers generally were reasonably entitled to expect”.

It comes weeks after a study found an elevated risk of cardiac-related death in young women who have received non-mRNA vaccines.

The risk of dying from heart issues was three and a half times higher among young women in the 12 weeks following a single dose of the non-mRNA type of Covid vaccine, the study conducted by the Office for National Statistics in England found.

AstraZeneca was the first vaccine to be approved in the UK in December 2020. However, it is no longer used and the government is not ordering any future supplies.

In April 2021, the Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency confirmed a link between the vaccine and blood clots, but said the benefits continued to outweigh the risks for the vast majority of people.

Blood clots are listed as a “very rare” side effect.

Researchers from Cardiff University and Arizona State University said that could happen when the adenovirus contained in the vaccine binds to a type of protein in the blood, which triggers a chain reaction that results in the development of blood clots.

AstraZeneca told the BBC it was “unable to comment on ongoing legal matters”.

“Patient safety is our highest priority and regulatory authorities have clear and stringent standards to ensure the safe use of all medicines, including vaccines. Our sympathy goes out to anyone who has reported health problems,” the pharmaceutical company said.

It said evidence from clinical trials and data showed the Covid vaccine had “an acceptable safety profile” and that the benefits “outweigh the risks of extremely rare potential side effects”.

“More than 144 million Covid vaccines have been given in England, which has helped the country to live with Covid and saved thousands of lives,” the Department for Health and Social Care said.

“All vaccines being used in the UK have undergone robust clinical trials and have met the Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency's strict standards of safety, effectiveness and quality.”

Updated: April 11, 2023, 11:16 AM