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BBC presenter’s widower says only option is to sue AstraZeneca after her death

Lisa Shaw
Lisa Shaw

The widower of a BBC presenter who died due to complications from the Covid-19 vaccination said he’s been left with “no alternative” but to take legal action against AstraZeneca.

Lisa Shaw, who worked for BBC Radio Newcastle, died a week after her first jab in May 2021.

A coroner ruled in August 2021 that the 44-year-old had died from a “vaccine-induced thrombotic thrombocytopenia”, a rare condition linked to the vaccination.

Gareth Eve, her widower, said he had been trying to “engage with the government, MPs and three prime ministers” and no one had “reached out” in return.

‘Tried to engage with government’

He told the BBC: “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.

“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?”

Lisa Shaw and her husband, Gareth Eve
Lisa Shaw and her husband, Gareth Eve

He said all he wanted was “some sort of acknowledgement or recognition that these deaths have occurred”.

Mr Eve added: “We’re not crackpots or conspiracy theorists, we’re husbands and wives and family members who have lost somebody – that’s all it is.

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

Nearly 75 claimants

His lawyers sent AstraZeneca pre-action protocol letters in November, on behalf of nearly 75 claimants, several of whom have had relatives die or survive with injuries related to the vaccine.

The claimants are pursuing legal action under the Consumer Protection Act 1987, and demanding payment under a government Vaccine Damage Payment Scheme.

Solicitor Peter Todd from Scott-Moncrieff and Associates, which is acting for the claimants, said damages were 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”.

In August 2021, Newcastle coroner Karen Dilks said Ms Shaw had died from “vaccine-induced thrombotic thrombocytopenia”, a very rare condition that induces swelling and bleeding on the brain.

Green light

The Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine was the first given a green light for use in the UK, being approved in December 2020. The government ordered 100 million doses for its inoculation programme, and rolled it out in clinics across the country, alongside the Pfizer jab.

A spokesperson for the Department for Health and Social Care said the vaccines were the most effective prevention against the disease, but acknowledged that “in extremely rare circumstances” individuals had been “severely disabled or died” due to receiving the vaccine.

Lisa Shaw
Lisa Shaw

They added: “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.

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

‘Dirty secret’

However, Mr Eve said “too many people” were suffering from illnesses or bereavement related to the vaccine, and were being made to feel like their situation was “a dirty secret”.

“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,” he said.

In a statement, a spokesperson for AstraZeneca said: “We are 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.”