Julian Scholefield says he did everything possible to protect himself and his family from the coronavirus.
The B.C. man says he received his first Pfizer vaccination shot in May of 2021. Six months later, he went back for his second shot and said everything was fine, adding he didn’t even have a sore arm after getting the injection.
Two weeks later, though, the Okanagan resident said things took a rapid turn for the worse when he and his family were enjoying a day out on the lake.
“I was sitting, driving the boat. I realized my left leg started to feel funny and tingly,” Scholefield told Global News. “And it didn’t go away. In fact, it started to get worse.”
Within two hours, Scholefield was paralyzed from the waist down. The Summerland man would spend three months in three different hospitals.
Doctors finally diagnosed him with acute disseminated encephalomyelitis or ADEM.
“A neurologist who really took an in-depth study into my case did further testing on me,” said Scholefield, “and was able to essentially eliminate any other causes except for the COVID(-19) vaccine.”
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Now wheelchair-bound, Scholefield filed for the federal vaccine injury support program (VISP) in September 2021.
Scholefield said he sent all the necessary information and continuously called his support work to check on his status.
After 15 months, a decision was made.
“Just yesterday, I did get documentation that states that they have approved my claim and that the next step would be to be determining the dollar value of that,” said Scholefield.
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Global News reached out to the vaccine injury support program regarding the time it took to process Scholefield’s claim.
In a statement, the program said there are “several reasons as to the lengths of time it takes to process a claim.”
“Each claim is unique and varies in nature and complexity. As such, each claim poses its own hurdles and often delays are specific to the unique claim itself,” said senior support worker Edward Maier.
“It is also important to highlight that the VISP is meant to compensate for serious and permanent injuries. As such, we can also have direction from our medical team that some conditions/injuries will improve over time, and that more time is needed to evaluate if the injuries are, in fact, serious and permanent.”
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Since June 2021, more than 1,200 vaccine injury claims have been reported. But of those, only 50 claims have been approved by the medical review board.
“I think that the government understood that there was going to be risks associated with the COVID vaccination program, and they set up the vaccine injury support (program) to help people,” said Scholefield.
“It’s not doing enough and it’s certainly not doing it in a timely manner.”
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The federal government website states “serious adverse events are rare but do occur and that the benefits of the COVID vaccine outweigh the risks.”
Meanwhile, Scholefield hopes further research on vaccines will be done to avoid further injuries.
“I am not against vaccines per say, but certainly, in my shoes, there is a downside to the COVID vaccine,” said Scholefield.
The federal government has paid out nearly $2.8 million to Canadians since the creation of the vaccine injury support program.
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