Australian actress Melle Stewart suffered a stroke after receiving AstraZeneca’s covid vaccine. She is now suing the pharmaceutical company for the complications she experienced.
The 42-year-old was living in London when she received her first dose of the covid vaccine in May 2021. The British government had recently introduced new recommendations regarding AstraZeneca, advising people under 40 not to take the company’s covid vaccine due to the risk of blood clots.
When Stewart was about to receive the injection, a volunteer worker distributing the covid vaccine thought she was under 40 because of her youthful appearance and pointed it out to her. However, the actress corrected the volunteer, stating that she could receive the shot because she was over 40.
Two weeks after the vaccination, Stewart felt a strange sensation on the right side of her body and collapsed when she tried to stand up. Her condition rapidly deteriorated in the hospital, resulting in loss of mobility on the right side and the ability to speak. She also suffered seizures.
Blood clots in the brain
Stewart suffered a stroke due to two blood clots in her brain, and doctors had to remove a large portion of her skull to relieve the pressure in her brain. She was diagnosed with Vaccine Induced Thrombotic Thrombocytopenia (VITT), a serious complication seen after some covid vaccinations.
Stewart underwent surgery to remove part of her skull to relieve the pressure on her brain and was placed in a coma for three weeks. During this time, she received blood transfusions to neutralize the harmful antibodies that were causing the blood clots. After regaining consciousness, Stewart spent three months in the hospital, followed by rehabilitation where she had to relearn how to walk and talk. She was released in February 2022.
She is now taking legal action against the pharmaceutical company after the stroke left her unable to work.
Career put on hold
Before the injection, Stewart was a successful actress, appearing in the musical “Kiss Me Kate” in Belfast before the covid crisis. Her partner, Ben Lewis, who is also an actor, had to put his career on hold to care for his girlfriend. Stewart says she is “mourning” the loss of her career.
– It is hard. That side of things has been taken away from me, she told Britain’s The Telegraph.
The couple believe they were misled about the vaccine’s safety and are part of a group of people taking legal action against AstraZeneca in the UK.
– We had an expectation this vaccine was safe to use but AstraZeneca was not safe to use in this case, says Lewis.
Stewart has received compensation from the state’s Vaccine Injury Compensation Program, but argues that it does not cover the lost income that both she and Lewis have missed since the stroke.