A father-of-two who claims to have suffered a rare side effect of a coronavirus vaccine has finally been discharged from hospital – after 420 days.
Former security worker Anthony Shingler was left ‘paralysed’ after taking his first AstraZeneca jab.
He was rushed to the Royal Stoke University Hospital with severe aches, as well as pins and needles in March last year just days after being vaccinated. After spending months on a ventilator at the Royal Stoke, Anthony was transferred to Haywood Hospital in November to continue his long and painful recovery.
Now the 58-year-old has returned home to Northwood to be with his wife Nicola, and their two daughters.
Former security worker Anthony Shingler, pictured, spent 410 days in hospital and was left ‘paralysed’ after taking his first AstraZeneca jab
Mr Shingler – who had no previous health conditions prior to taking the vaccine – says ‘he will never be the same’ after being left needing a wheelchair and walking frame to get around the house
Before the adverse reaction, Mr Shingler was fit and active with no prior medical conditions
But grandfather Mr Shingler – who had no previous health conditions prior to taking the vaccine – says ‘he will never be the same’ after being left needing a wheelchair and walking frame to get around the house.
Describing his time in hospital, he told StokeonTrentLive: ‘I was asked to make a phone call to my loved-ones as I was taken down to critical care as they didn’t know whether I would make it or not. I spoke to my wife and two daughters and said ‘goodbye’. That was frightening.
‘I was then on a ventilator for months recovering. Even though I was the one lying in a hospital bed paralysed, my family went through more than I did.’
Mr Shingler was officially diagnosed with Guillain-Barré syndrome (GBS), a serious condition that affects the nerves. The condition sees the body’s immune system damages nerve cells, causing muscle weakness and sometimes paralysis, following infection, and in rare cases, vaccination.
Mr Shingler was taken off the ventilator in October and managed to breathe on his own but says he still couldn’t move his body.
Mr Shingler said when he came around in hospital he was only able to move his head
He added: ‘I could only move my head. There was a buzzer to call the nurses and I had to headbutt it because I couldn’t use my hands. It messes with your head because your brain is telling you to get out of bed but your body can’t do that. It’s really frustrating.
‘When I was moved to Hayward I started physio. There was one stage where I lost it and broke down in tears. They kept me in a separate room all night.’
Vaccines and Guillain-Barre Syndrome
The Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) is monitoring all potential side effects reported to them, including Guillain-Barre Syndrome.
In an online post about GBS in 2020, www.nhs.uk said: ‘In the past, vaccinations (particularly the flu vaccine used in the US during a swine flu outbreak in 1976) were linked to an increased risk of Guillain-Barré syndrome.
‘But research has since found the chances of developing the condition after having a vaccination are extremely small.
‘For example, a study into the vaccine used during the 2009 swine flu outbreak found that for every million people who had the vaccination, there were fewer than 2 extra cases of Guillain-Barré syndrome.
‘And evidence suggests that you are far more likely to get Guillain-Barré syndrome from an infection, such as the flu, than the vaccine designed to prevent the infection, such as the flu jab.’
Anthony added: ‘Before this happened, I’d class myself as a mentally-strong person. Nothing could phase me but this was something else – it’s taken its toll on my mental health.
‘I can’t go to work, drive or dress myself. My hands are so bad that I can’t grip anything. I use a wheelchair and have a walking frame I have to lean on. I can’t stand on my own. I can only walk up to 20 metres with a frame.
‘I wouldn’t wish it on my worst enemy, it’s really bad. I did not like any of it but I am lucky to be alive.’
Mr Shingler now regrets following Government advice to get vaccinated against coronavirus.
He said: ‘It’s life-changing but I didn’t do something that caused this. We just did what the government told is to do. I regret getting the vaccine. If I had known there was a chance of getting this, I wouldn’t have gone anywhere near it.
‘My nerves have been stripped and damaged. This is the beginning and it’s going to be a long haul. I won’t ever be the same Anthony again.’
While he was in hospital, Nicola, who is now his carer, would visit him twice a day. She previously spoke with StokeonTrentLive when Mr Shingler was fighting for his life.
But 49-year-old Nicola is overjoyed when her returned home on May 17.
She said: ‘We’re unlucky because he got infected but lucky because he’s alive. It’s great to have him back home.
‘Now we have to face our daily lives with how it’s affected Tony. I’m his carer and we’ve got the added stress of sorting out benefits because we didn’t claim them before. It’s very stressful. We’ve lost our income and even the benefits aren’t sufficient.
‘Tony will push as far as he can and keep going. The doctor told us we’ll have to wait and see what nature gives him back. I’m adamant it was the vaccine, he was fine until he had it. They’ve found no other trigger.’