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Widow sues AstraZeneca after husband's Covid-19 vaccine death



Widow sues AstraZeneca after husband's Covid-19 vaccine death​

    • Published
      17 hours ago
Kam Miller

Image caption,
Kam Miller said her husband Neil felt he was doing the right thing by getting vaccinated

By Helen McCarthy & Dan Martin
BBC News, Leicester

A woman is suing AstraZeneca after her husband died from a "rare reaction" to the company's Covid-19 vaccine.

Father of two Neil Miller, 50, developed fatal blood clotting after receiving the jab in March 2021.

His widow Kam Miller said she was not anti-vaccination, but is arguing the compensation she received following his death should be increased.

AstraZeneca said it would not comment on the legal action but patient safety was its highest priority.


Mrs Miller said her husband's death had had a devastating effect on her

Mrs Miller, from Kibworth in Leicestershire, is among 80 claimants taking legal action in the High Court arguing AstraZeneca's vaccine was less safe than people were entitled to expect.

"I'm not anti-vaccination," said the 58-year-old.

"And neither was Neil. He was keen to have his jab as soon as he could and he felt he was doing the right thing.

"But I do believe if he had not had the vaccine and later got Covid, he would have survived it."

Mrs Miller said her husband was fit and healthy - the coach of a youth football team - but became seriously ill after he was vaccinated.

She said he began to suffer flu-like symptoms which became steadily worse, leading to several visits to hospital, in Leicester, over a two-month period.

Mr Miller, an IT worker, died on 1 May 2021, after collapsing at home.

His death certificate shows he died from vaccine-induced immune thrombosis and thrombocytopenia (VITT) and an inquest into his death concluded he had a "rare reaction" to the Covid-19 vaccine.


Mrs Miller said her husband was the main breadwinner in the family

Mrs Miller received a payment of £120,000 through the government's Vaccine Damage Payment Scheme (VDPS), which provides one-off compensation for those injured by vaccines or to bereaved next of kin.

However, she said it was not enough to make up for the impact of his death.

She said: "My daughter Sophia is 27 and my son Eshan is 23. They are growing up.

"I sit at home most evenings on my own. I have lost the comfort of having Neil and I feel empty and very lonely. It is a struggle.

"He was the main breadwinner in our family.

"I don't want to be going to court but the money is needed for the future of my family."


Sarah Moore, of solicitors Leigh Day - which is representing Mrs Miller and other claimants - said: "We are fighting for compensation for individuals and families who have been severely affected as a consequence of this rare but very serious adverse events as a result of vaccination.

"Kam's husband Neil very tragically passed away and she is now left with a significant mortgage she needs to meet on her own.

"He would have been working and bringing income into the house and providing for their children and Kam."

She said she understood the government would fund any successful claims against AstraZeneca because it indemnified the company when it was developing its vaccine for the purpose of accelerating its rollout during the pandemic.

She added: "It's important to understand these are not anti-vaccine cases. Those involved did the right thing and got vaccinated along with the majority of people in the UK.

"That was a real game-changer in terms of fighting the pandemic. However, in doing so this small group suffered a devastating consequence and now they find themselves in awful circumstances."

Ms Moore said she hoped the legal cases would lead to reform the VDPS, so the set £120,000 payment is replaced with compensation assessed on an individual basis.

AstraZeneca manufactured its vaccine on a not-for-profit basis and studies have suggested Covid vaccines, including AstraZeneca's, have saved millions of lives.

The UK government had stopped ordering the AstraZeneca vaccine by 2022.

The Department of Health and Social Care (DHSC) said since September 2021, the vaccines in the national programme had primarily been mRNA vaccines - that were considered to provide a strong booster response.

AstraZeneca said it would not comment on ongoing legal action but a spokesperson said: "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 lost loved ones or reported health problems."

The firm said evidence from clinical trials showed the AstraZeneca-Oxford vaccine had an acceptable safety profile and that regulators around the world had consistently stated the benefits of vaccination outweigh the risks of extremely rare potential side effects.

It said the Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Authority (MHRA) had granted full marketing approval for the vaccine based on its safety profile and efficacy.

The DHSC declined to comment on ongoing litigation or specific cases.

However, a spokesperson said: "AstraZeneca completed its Covid-19 vaccine supply agreement with the UK government in 2022."