Welsh teen in hospital with Covid targeted online by anti-vaxxers

·3-min read

A 17-year-old in hospital with coronavirus has said she has been targeted by anti-vaxxers and conspiracy theorists on social media after urging young people to have the vaccine.

Maisy Evans said she has been accused of being a “liar” and an “actress paid by the government” by online trolls.

The teenager has had symptoms including dizziness, shortness of breath, headaches, a loss of smell and taste, as well as suffering a Covid-related blood clot on her lung. She tested positive for the virus on 14 August, three days after having her first Pfizer jab.

However, doctors have insisted her illness and her blood clot are unrelated to the vaccine.

Evans, from Newport, south Wales, told Sky News: “I’ve had to deal with a lot of anti-vaxxers and conspiracy theorists which is deeply frustrating.

“I’ve been called a liar, an actress paid by the government to push certain agendas, Satan, a Nazi, evil, and so many more things.

“It’s totally uncalled for.”

Evans was admitted to hospital on 25 August and after undergoing numerous blood tests, X-rays and CT scans, a Covid-related blood clot was discovered on her right lung.

The former member of the Welsh youth parliament is being treated at the Grange university hospital in Cwmbran.

Watch: Do coronavirus vaccines affect fertility?

Evans said she feared she would die when her oxygen levels “dropped dramatically” after contracting coronavirus and the symptoms left her struggling to stand up without getting out of breath.

She added it now takes her an hour to recover from having a shower.

“It feels as if I’ve run 40 miles.

“I’ve probably had every possible symptom. I’ve had the cough, the high temperature, the shakes, the sickness, the dizziness, the shortness of breath, the excruciating headaches, the body aches. You name a symptom – it’s hit me.

“I even lost my sense of smell and taste. Most of these symptoms have eased but the breathlessness is definitely still an issue. It was one of the last symptoms to develop.”

The podcaster said her message to young people is: “Get the vaccine to protect yourself.”

“We are extremely lucky to have access to a Covid-19 vaccine and it’s important we take up the opportunity to receive the doses because it’s all about weighing up the risks,” she said.

“Clearly, the virus itself poses a risk to young people – I learned the hard way – so getting a vaccine to protect yourself is so important.”

After receiving a message of support on social media from Newport East MP, Jessica Morden, the teenager said her experience was “a tale that needs to be shared”, adding: “I’d love to know how different my story would be if I’d been offered the vaccine just a week or two earlier.”

A first dose of the Covid vaccine is being offered to 16 and 17-year-olds in the UK, with no second dose planned thus far.

But while both the Pfizer/BioNTech and Moderna jabs are approved for those aged 12 to 17, only some children aged 12-15 are eligible for the vaccination – specifically those who are clinically extremely vulnerable or living with someone who is at risk.

Watch: What UK government COVID-19 support is available?

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