Thursday, 20 Jan 2022

Family’s agony after tragic dad ‘locked in body’ in rare reaction to vaccine

A husband and dad-of-two had a stroke just nine days after getting his first dose of the AstraZeneca Covid-19 vaccine.

Tragic John O'Neill is 1 in 50,000 who suffer from a rare vaccine-induced immune thrombocytopenia and thrombosis (VITT).

The stroke has trapped John in his own body and it's been "extremely difficult" for his wife, Vicky, and two children, Essex Live reports.

Before his stroke, John worked as an IT engineer and lived in Althorne, near Maldon, Essex.

He lived with his 38-year-old wife Vicky and his kids. To his son Mason, five, and daughter Freya, nine, John was a loving dad.

Vicky, 38, said: "He’s a nice, genuine guy who would do anything for anyone. He was happy-go-lucky and a real family man."

John has asthma, as does Mason, and this meant the O'Neill family were very cautious throughout the Covid-19 lockdowns.

With a lung condition, John was deemed high risk if he caught the virus.

When vaccines were available, John and Vicky were eager to get protected.

However, as an "IT guy", Vicky said her husband had done some research about the AstraZeneca vaccine and was quite worried.

John had become concerned that his asthma put him more at risk of extremely rare blood clots as a result of the AZ vaccine.

In May, John was given his first dose of the AZ vaccine. but several days later John complained of feeling "extremely tired", before experiencing "uncontrollable shivering", sickness and pain across his eyes.

Paramedics initially thought the 42-year-old was just having a migraine, but he continued to feel sick then lost vision in his left eye.

After he was taken to hospital, on May 27, Vicky got the news that John had suffered from a stroke.

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He was paralysed down the right-hand side of his body after having a clot in his brain and a blocked artery in the left side of his neck.

After being sent to the Royal London Hospital for surgery, doctors didn’t understand what was happening to John.

His blood was clotting in all of his main arteries and Vicky claims it was only at this point that doctors realised it could be linked to the AZ vaccine.

After spending a long period in intensive care, John returned home from the hospital, but he was not the same man.

John has lost his vision in his left eye and has "significant" brain damage, so struggles to communicate.

Sometimes John knows what he wants to say, but his brain can't get the words out.

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Vicky says it's like he's trapped in his own body. John has improved a lot since returning home thanks to therapy and can now walk on his right leg – which doctors feared they would have to amputate after blood clotted in its artery.

But he still cannot walk very far.

She explained: "He has significant brain damage, so has to be spoken to slowly.

"He can’t digest information in big groups of people or noisy places. He’s improving with his speech and is trying to put sentences together.

"He struggles with reading, writing, numbers and letters. He completely knows what he wants to say but his brain can’t process how to get the words out. He finds it frustrating."

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