Ten days after receiving his first Covid-19 vaccine dose, man was left temporarily paralyzed and developed an autoimmune response, now he will receive compensation by the government

Since the vaccine were rolled out, nearly 256 million Americans have received at least one dose of the vaccines reaching just under 78% of the population. More than 221 million Americans are considered fully vaccinated, while nearly 104 million Americans have received at least one booster dose of the vaccines.

America currently has one of the best vaccination rates globally as vaccines still remain the best option we have in battling the deadly virus. While unwanted effects by the vaccines are possible, the benefits of the Covid-19 vaccination outweigh the known and potential risks. Recently, several news outlets reported about a 40-year-old man who developed an autoimmune response and was left temporarily paralyzed after receiving his first Covid-19 vaccine dose and now he is eligible for compensation by the federal government.

Ross Wightman, now 40 years old man from Canada, was happy to hear when he became eligible to get vaccinated against Covid-19 more than a year ago. Without hesitating, he went to a local clinic and got vaccinated with the AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine. However, ten days later he started experience the first negative symptoms from the vaccine and he was shortly after diagnosed with Guillain Barre syndrome and left temporarily paralyzed. In the upcoming days, Wightman suffered extreme back pain that he could barely walk.

Wightman now claims that he is the first ever patient eligible for compensation by the federal government that has his vaccine injury certified. Per the Vaccine Injury Support Program that was launched year by the federal government, the program promises compensation to those with a “serious and permanent” injury from vaccination.

Since he fell ill, Wightman has been off work and last month he finally received a letter from the program confirming that a medical review board has found a “probable causal association between the injury(ies) sustained and the vaccination.” Until last winter, the program showed that only ‘less than five’ claims have been approved even though more than 400 people had filed claims up to that point.

When he filed the claim and initially started the communication with the federal government, everything was very slow and the back-and-forth communication was nothing but poor. With no other options left, he decided to go to the media in February and that’s the same period when the communication regarding his request started to improve.

“Things have still been slow, but he’s (the federal case manager) always been there to answer a question or take a phone call. And that’s really all you can ask for,” Wightman said. He also heaped praise on the healthcare workers and physical therapists that have helped him through his recovery. Because he was denied an exemption to the provincial vaccine passport program — provincial health officials insisted he was able to get a second dose — those appointments were among his only social interactions.

Whitman chose not to share his total allotment citing privacy concerns, but said the maximum payout under the program is about $284,000. Wightman said he did not qualify for the full amount. He said he is also eligible for income replacement up to $90,000 per year.

Wightman said his recovery process hasn’t been linear. He relapsed twice while in the hospital and was released after 67 days. “When I was discharged, I could walk, assisted, 30, 40 feet and I would be gassed.” Now, he says he “can now go for a slow 40-minute walk,” which he says he is grateful for, but as a typically active person, “it’s a far cry from where I was before.” “Going for a walk with my wife or a friend and just seeing the sights and sounds, those are probably my favorite things right now,” he added.

Cindy Carey


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