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COVID-19: AstraZeneca Faces US Lawsuit from Vaccine Trial Participant

An American woman who took part in the US clinical trial of the AstraZeneca Covid vaccine is suing the company, claiming it left her “permanently disabled”.

Brianne Dressen, a 42-year-old former teacher from Utah, says she developed a severe neurological condition after taking part in a vaccine trial in 2020.

She is suing AstraZeneca for an alleged breach of contract, after she said it failed to provide medical care for her side effects.

Her lawsuit is thought to be the first of its kind in the US, where the British-made vaccine was tested in clinical trials but never approved for use.

More than 50 people have already filed a class action lawsuit against AstraZeneca in the UK, in a case that could result in a multimillion-pound payout. The company asked the EU to withdraw authorisation for its vaccine in its member states last week.

In court papers filed yesterday, Ms Dressen claimed she signed an agreement with the company that promised it would “pay the costs of medical treatment for research injuries, provided that the costs are reasonable, and you did not cause the injury yourself”.

However, she said when she experienced a severe sensation of pins and needles across her body shortly after she received the jab in November 2020, AstraZeneca did not cover the cost of her medical care.

After being hospitalised several times after her vaccination, she said her medical bills had run into thousands of dollars, and that she had refused a small payout that would have limited its liability in any lawsuit.

Her complaint, filed to a court in Utah, said Ms Dressen had become “a shadow of her former self: unable to work, unable to do any athletic activity, unable to parent the way she had, and unable to drive more than a few blocks at a time”.

There is a documented link between the AstraZeneca vaccine and neurological conditions like peripheral neuropathy in some rare cases of patients who received the jab.

A study published last year in the journal Current Neurology and Neuroscience Reports found a “greater than expected occurrence of severe neurological adverse events … following different kinds of Covid-19 vaccination” but concluded that the evidence was not strong enough to recommend the vaccine be withdrawn.

The AstraZeneca vaccine was heralded by Boris Johnson as a “triumph for British science” and is credited with saving six million lives during the pandemic.

However, it has also been blamed for dozens of deaths in Britain of patients who contracted blood clots after receiving it. Many more reported illness and injury.

On April 28, the company admitted in court documents for the first time that the jab could cause blood clots “in very rare cases”.

The US trial of the AstraZeneca vaccine involved 32,000 participants and concluded that it was 79 per cent effective against Covid-19. Although the US government bought tens of millions of doses of the jab, it was never given authorisation for public use.

A spokesperson for AstraZeneca said the company would not comment on ongoing litigation.

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