A mother of three from Leicester died after suffering a rare catastrophic reaction to the AstraZeneca coronavirus vaccination, her family said.
Lucy Taberer, 47, became seriously ill after the vaccination and developed blood clots in her brain that caused a massive stroke.
Lucy’s heartbroken partner and fiancé Mark Tomlin from Aylestone told the story Leicestershire Live of the devastating effects of her death on him and her five-year-old son Orson.
He said Lucy, a playgroup leader, initially experienced mild and frequent side effects in the days following her vaccination at the Peepul Center in Belgrave on March 19.
But her condition gradually worsened, so she was hospitalized, and despite the medical professionals’ best efforts to save her, she died 22 days after the vaccination.
Mark said, “She knew there could be some side effects, but she wasn’t worried.
“We thought they were just going to clean up like most people do.
“She had pain in her side so she went to her GP who said it was kidney stones and prescribed pain medication for her.
“That calmed her and she didn’t think it had anything to do with the vaccine, but things got worse and worse and the panic started.
“She got a bruise the size of a tennis ball.
“Usually she had all the energy in the world, but she got tired and lethargic.
“Then she got a really bad rash on her face and side.
“Her gums were starting to discolour and we were very worried.” On April 1, 13 days after she was vaccinated, Lucy was admitted to Leicester’s Royal Infirmary, where blood clots were diagnosed.
Doctors treated her with blood-thinning drugs, but her condition continued to deteriorate, but she had blood clots and suffered a severe stroke.
She was then transferred to the intensive care unit at Nottingham Queen’s Medical Center (QMC), but despite surgery to save her, counselors said there was nothing more could be done for her and recommended that her life support should be turned off on April 10th.
Mark, a 57-year-old metal worker, said it was advisors to the QMC who said Lucy’s serious illness was linked to the vaccine.
Her death certificate states that she died of a cerebral venous sinus thrombosis and a vaccine-associated thrombosis with thrombocytopenia.
Mark said, “We were so happy and looking forward to the future and then I suddenly have to explain to Orson that his mom has died.
“I had already told him that mom had gone to the hospital because she needed medication.
“Then I told him that the drug hadn’t worked and that mom couldn’t come home, and a few days later I told him that she had died.
“Our world has been turned upside down.
“Every day I wake up and Lucy is the first thing I think about.”
Mark said, “I don’t want people to be stopped with a vaccine, but I want people to know that there are risks.
“We are not anti-Vax.
“Lucy certainly wasn’t – she was so excited to get it.
“She’s sticking to all the lockdown rules like glue, and saw the vaccine as a step to get back out and see her and hug her pals.
“She couldn’t wait to get it, but no one thought this was going to happen.”
Mark said that on the day she was vaccinated, Lucy had raised some concerns about the process, which focused on how quickly her vaccination was done, and that this had not been well explained to her.
He said he would have been happier if she had operated on a family doctor like he did.
He said, “I had my first dose (of Pfizer) with my GPs, where they talked really well through the process.
“I still don’t think I’ll be getting my second dose after everything that’s happened.
“I’m not saying people shouldn’t get vaccinated. It is everyone’s choice.
“I know how rare it is that things go so badly wrong, but it happened to us and it affected the way I think about things myself.”
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A spokesman for the Leicester City NHS Clinical Commissioning Group, which runs the city’s vaccination program, told LeicestershireLive: “We are very sorry to hear of Lucy’s death, which is clearly very tragic and deeply troubling for Lucy’s family and friends.
“All vaccination sites – temporary like pop-ups or permanent – are subject to strict operating procedures that cover all aspects of the service.
“This includes vaccine storage and handling, infection prevention and control, staff requirements and training, and clinical surveillance. Patient safety is paramount and operations include arrangements for consent, observation and response to incidents.”
Mark’s daughter Leanne, 33, is now helping him take care of Orson.
She said the family did not want to prevent others from getting the vaccine.
“That’s not the point here at all, but we think it’s important that people know what happened to Lucy and that cases like hers are not forgotten.”
Leanne said Lucy’s case had been reported to the government’s Yellow Card Service, where side effects to vaccines can be recorded.
As of June 9, more than 200,000 cases of such reactions to the AstraZeneca vaccination had been recorded by the Yellow Card.
The Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunization has recommended that healthy people under the age of 40 should be offered an alternative to the AstraZeneca vaccine.
Other countries have suspended its use over concerns that they could lead to clots.
The Ministry of Health and Welfare said: “Extremely rare cases of blood clots with low platelet counts have been observed after vaccination with the AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine.
“Most of these cases occurred within the first 14 days after vaccination, but some were reported after this period.
“Some cases were life threatening or fatal.
“It’s important to remember that the benefits of vaccination for protection against COVID-19 still outweigh the potential risks.”
Mark has had to cut the hours he’s worked since Lucy’s death in half to take care of Orson, and that has left him struggling financially.
Leanne has set up and Online donation page Help with childcare and other expenses, and support Orson.
So far, more than 9,000 euros have been collected.
She said, “We are overwhelmed by the response and generosity of the people.”