Widow of BBC presenter who died after Covid jab says ‘no alternative’ but to sue AstraZeneca

BBC Radio Newcastle’s Lisa Shaw had her first jab in May 2021 and died just a week later

Tara Cobham
Wednesday 12 April 2023 07:36 BST
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BBC Radio’s Lisa Shaw had her first jab in May 2021 and died just a week later
BBC Radio’s Lisa Shaw had her first jab in May 2021 and died just a week later (PA)

The widower of a BBC presenter who died after having the Covid vaccine has said he has been left with “no alternative” but to sue AstraZeneca.

BBC Radio Newcastle’s Lisa Shaw had her first jab in May 2021 and died just a week later.

In August of that year, Newcastle coroner Karen Dilks ruled the 44-year-old had died from a rare condition associated with the jab that induces swelling and bleeding on the brain, “vaccine-induced thrombotic thrombocytopenia”.

On behalf of almost 75 claimants, Gareth Eve’s lawyers sent AstraZeneca pre-action protocol letters in November
On behalf of almost 75 claimants, Gareth Eve’s lawyers sent AstraZeneca pre-action protocol letters in November (PA Media)

Her widower Gareth Eve said no one had “reached out” after he had attempted to “engage with the government, MPs and three prime ministers”.

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?”

Mr Eve said he merely wanted “some sort of acknowledgement or recognition that these deaths have occurred”, adding: “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.”

The government ordered 100 million doses of the AstraZeneca jab and the vaccines were rolled out across the country
The government ordered 100 million doses of the AstraZeneca jab and the vaccines were rolled out across the country (PA)

On behalf of almost 75 claimants, his lawyers sent AstraZeneca pre-action protocol letters in November under the Consumer Protection Act 1987. They are demanding payment under a government Vaccine Damage Payment Scheme. A few of these claimants have had loved ones who had injuries linked to the vaccine, which led to death in some cases.

Solicitor Peter Todd from Scott-Moncrieff and Associates, acting on behalf of the claimants, said the vaccine was a “defective product in that it was not as safe as consumers generally were reasonably entitled to expect”.

The Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine was approved in December 2020, which made it the first jab to be given the green light in the UK. The government ordered 100 million doses and the vaccines were rolled out across the country.

While it does not comment on ongoing legal proceedings or individual cases, a spokesperson for the Department for Health and Social Care said: “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) strict standards of safety, effectiveness and quality.”

It added that while jabs remain a “key part” of the government’s Covid strategy, “The Vaccine Damage Payments Scheme (VDPS) provides financial support to help ease the burden on individuals who have, in extremely rare circumstances, been severely disabled or died due to receiving a government-recommended vaccine.”

In a statement, AstraZeneca told the BBC: "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."

It added evidence showed the vaccine had "an acceptable safety profile" and that the benefits "outweigh the risks of extremely rare potential side effects".

The Independent has contacted AstraZeneca for further comment.

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