For Lake Country’s Ross Wightman, life will likely never look the same as it did pre-pandemic.
A negative reaction to a single dose of the AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine received on April 30, 2021, would lead Wightman to a diagnosis of Guillain-Barre syndrome, a rare disorder in which the body’s immune system attacks the nerves.
Two years later and Wightman said he’s made major improvements, but has a very long way to go.
“I’m still having to wear special orthotics for my feet to walk. I don’t have any real muscle activity or connectivity from my knees down. The braces enable me to walk which is good as my strength increases. My hands are still a challenge for me. They are slowly getting better as well, but I have nerve damage from elbows down and knees down.”
Wightman was one of the first Canadians to be approved for compensation following a vaccine injury. This has allowed him to have coverage for physiotherapy, massage therapy, orthotics, medications, and other health-related care.
The Vaccine Injury Support Program, however, only assists financially for three years following approval.
With only one of three years left of coverage, Wightman has taken the matter before the courts.
At first, it was a group effort after a law firm in Toronto reached out to Wightman saying they would fight the fight for him and others also experiencing vaccine injuries.
“I think they had about 15 of us and up until… mid-to-late March we thought we were going ahead. They had determined ahead that there was enough meat on the bone there that they wanted to go ahead with the lawsuit.”
Just days later the law firm came back with publicity concerns, Wightman said, and ultimately redacted their offer to help. “It was really demoralizing.”
But with the fuel sparked, the husband and father took his story to Pushor Mitchell in Kelowna and a civil suit was filed.
“I and my family have suffered so much already. The financial and health ramifications are not just short term for my household, they’re long term and possibly life-long.”
Wightman is taking AstraZeneca, the Attorney General of Canada, the Province of B.C., Interior Health, Verity Pharmaceuticals and Hogarth’s Clinic Pharmacy to court for the adverse effects he had from the vaccine.
“My ability to earn a health, robust living that I had been making and potentially could be making is – I’d like to think that I’d be able to, but so far it’s not looking that way.”
Previously Wightman worked as a realtor, but getting tired easily doesn’t allow for extensive running around. He’s also had to face the fact he may never be able to pilot a plane again, something he had been considering getting back into before the life-altering shot.