A family from Steinbach has filed a Statement of Claim against pharmaceutical giant AstraZeneca after their son received a stroke shortly after getting vaccinated against COVID-19. 

On March 23, 2021, Marina Reimer received what she refers to as a "life-altering" phone call from her son. Twenty-one-year-old, Jackson Reimer was calling his mother to let her know that he suddenly could not see anything and that his head felt like it was exploding. Jackson, who his parents refer to as a healthy young man, was experiencing spontaneous right occipital intracerebral hemorrhage, also known as a hemorrhagic stroke and extremely low platelet count. 

Six days earlier, Jackson had received his AstraZeneca vaccine for COVID-19, at Whistler Blackcomb BC Conference Centre. The AstraZeneca vaccine was approved by Health Canada on February 26, 2021. Jackson received the vaccine as part of Vancouver Coastal Health's plan to protect workers where outbreaks and clusters had occurred or was occurring. At the time, Jackson was living in staff housing while employed at Whistler Blackcomb, BC. 

On March 24, 2021, one day after Jackson's stroke, Health Canada changed the AstraZeneca vaccine to add information about further risks with the vaccination while still reassuring Canadians that the AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine continued to be safe and effective at protecting them against COVID-19 and encouraging people to get immunized with any of the COVID-19 vaccines authorized in Canada. 

Then on March 29, 2021, Canada's National Advisory Committee on Immunization (NACI) recommended provinces pause the use of the AstraZeneca-Oxford COVID-19 vaccine on those under the age of 55 because of safety concerns. 

"AstraZeneca should never have been approved by Health Canada," says the Reimer family, in a statement. 

According to his parents, the stroke and subsequent craniotomy, caused Jackson to be legally blind with a severe cognitive brain injury and memory loss. His parents, Perry and Marina say they did not have much time or energy that first month after the stroke, to focus on what caused the stroke and his low platelet count. His parents were absorbed with Jackson's healing, staying positive and just making it through each day. Then, 10 days after the stroke, Jackson's father suffered a heart attack at Vancouver General Hospital. The Reimers say the heart attack was brought on by the stress of the situation. 

Jackson was eventually transferred to Manitoba where he spent three months rehabilitating at the Riverview Health Centre in Winnipeg, in the Acquired Brain Injury Program. The Reimers say it was during that time, and over the course of the next year, that comprehensive testing determined that the AstraZeneca vaccine was the most likely cause of Jackson's stroke. 

"There are many others who can relate to having adverse effects from the AstraZeneca vaccine," the Reimers say in their statement. "We can only speak to our experience, and it has been a journey we don't wish on anyone." 

Their Statement of Claim lists the many symptoms that Jackson exhibits on a daily basis. His parents say that he is aware of the symptoms that he struggles with and is working hard at managing them, as much as his brain injury allows him to. They say his healing will be ongoing throughout his lifetime. 

"We refuse to put a limit on what he can accomplish," the statement says. "Jackson will continue to require support, and of course transportation, for all his therapies, medical appointment and daily life activities." 

Jackson Reimer was discharged from Riverview Health Centre on July 22, 2021.Jackson Reimer was discharged from Riverview Health Centre on July 22, 2021.

The Reimers say that Health Canada, as the federal regulator, carries a significant responsibility to complete due diligence on the medicines and vaccines to protect the safety of Canadians. The statement says that AstraZeneca, Verity Pharmaceuticals, Vail Resorts and Vancouver Coastal Health, need to take accountability for releasing the AstraZeneca vaccine before it was fully tested and for not providing information about the risks and potential side effects to enable us to make informed decisions about our health. 

"We put our lives in their hands," reads the statement. "Our governments used fear and persuasive marketing to encourage the vaccination. The well-known marketing 'the first vaccine is the best vaccine' was not the case for Jackson. The first vaccine was the wrong vaccine."

The Court of King's Bench with Manitoba Justice has confirmed that a Statement of Claim has been filed in the Civil Division. The plaintiffs are Jackson Reimer, Marina Toews Reimer and Perry Reimer. The defendants are AstraZeneca Canada Inc., Verity Pharmaceuticals Inc., Vail Resorts Inc., Vancouver Coastal Health Authority and Attorney General of Canada.

As of March 20, 2023, a total of 97,667,909 COVID-19 vaccines have been administered in Canada. As of February 26, 2023, a total of 2,812,857 AstraZeneca vaccines have been administered in our country.

According to the Government of Canada, blood clots with low levels of blood platelets that occur after vaccination with viral vector vaccines (AstraZeneca Vaxzevria/COVISHIELD and Janssen Jcovden) are rare but serious. It says these serious side effects have been reported to begin up to about a month after vaccination. According to the government's website, quick diagnosis and treatment are critical to reducing the risk of negative outcomes.

Any Canadians who feel they have experienced a permanent or serious injury as the result of receiving a vaccine authorized by Health Canada can file a claim through the Vaccine Injury Support Program (VISP).  This is for vaccines administered in Canada on or after December 8, 2020. As of December 1, 2022, there have been 1,299 claims filed through VISP.