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B.C. man still waiting for vaccine injury government compensation

Julian Scholefield was hit with paralysis in the lower half of his body only 12 days after his second dose of Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine. Scholefield who is from Summerland was out on the Okanogan lake with his family on July 25, 2021 when began to feel a tingling feeling in his leg.

“Then it started to go up on my right leg as well. And that gave me a little bit more worry. So we decided to head back to shore and we were back kind of at the dock within two hours. And at that point, I was actually paralyzed from about my midsection down, and I couldn’t hold myself up.”

One of Scholefield’s nearby neighbours, who is also a doctor rushed him to Kelowna General hospital for an MRI scan. After spending three weeks there he was transferred to Penticton Regional where he spent five before being transferred to Vancouver General Hospital for five weeks of rehabilitation, according to Castanet

“We’ve got a three-floor lift and that was a significant cost, obviously out of pocket. That cost may or may not be covered by the vaccine injury support program. We don’t know. And so at this stage, it’s sort debt that’s sort of lingering, sitting there.”

Scholefield was an active and healthy man but now he lives his life in a wheelchair still relearning how to walk, he has had to outfit his home with wheelchair accessibility features to get around that have been paid out of pocket and has been unable to work since his vaccine injury and on disability as a result.

Friends, neighbours, and family have offered to help. To generate money for the wheelchair, the elevator, physical therapy, and other necessities, Scholefield’s wife started a GoFundMe page.

“I can’t thank the donors from $5, up to over $1,000 from individual donors, I can’t thank them enough for their generosity and support.”

According to the National Institutes of Health, Scholefield was diagnosed with acute disseminated encephalomyelitis (ADEM), which is an inflammatory attack in the brain and spinal cord that damages myelin, the protective covering of nerve fibres.

His doctors discovered the link between the vaccine and ADEM through the process of elimination. “They were able to just eliminate kind of every other possible cause. And there’s this outlier, where I had the vaccine.”

According to the British Columbia Centre for Disease Control (BCCDC) website, the condition can occur up to six weeks after vaccination. Vaccines can cause side effects, and “vaccine safety is continuously monitored to identify any serious adverse events.”

Castanet inquired about how many people were diagnosed with ADEM after receiving the vaccine, and the BCCDC responded, “To date, no cases of ADEM have been reported in association with the COVID-19 vaccines in BC.”

“All adverse events following immunization (AEFI) reported to BC public health are investigated and are further reported to the national surveillance system,” they added.

“ADEM is a very rare condition considered to be autoimmune in nature, of which about 40 cases are reported each year in BC (due to non-vaccine causes), with a distribution across the age span.”

Scholefield has been getting treatment with alternative medicine and therapies while also undergoing chemotherapy to reduce the swelling in his spine

“It’s a year later, and I’m still finding out how to make things work, how to do things in day-to-day life. Getting up in the morning is probably the worst,” he said. “It’s the hardest. I wake up every day and I’m like, ‘Yep, still can’t feel my legs’, and look over and there’s the wheelchair and then it’s like, okay, yeah, this is still real, this is still true.”

“I think that this was a government-mandated vaccine, I followed the rules, I did what I was told. And so far, I feel like the government does not have my back.”

Scholefield submitted an application in October to the VISP, which started taking claims on June 1, 2021. The government promised that it would compensate anyone who had suffered a “serious and permanent” damage as a result of vaccination.

Since the program’s inception until June 1, 2022, 774 claims have been received, according to program information posted on the government website.

“My file is still under review. And what that means is kind of on a bi-weekly basis, I check in and say ‘Hey, where’s my file at?’ And they say, ‘Still waiting.’ And I’ve called in, emailed in, followed up, and it’s still under review and to me, that’s just taking too long.”

While Scholefield is still waiting on his compensation from the government he has reached out to every level of government and received no response. He even reached out to local politicians and officials like B.C’s “top” doctor, Dr. Bonnie Henry, and Adrian Dix the Minister of Health who also haven’t replied.

“My file is still under review. And what that means is kind of on a bi-weekly basis, I check in and say ‘Hey, where’s my file at?’ And they say, ‘Still waiting.’ And I’ve called in, emailed in, followed up, and it’s still under review and to me, that’s just taking too long.”

“I’d like to get some support and some recognition that ‘Wow, obviously that wasn’t the intent’ and to have someone say ‘We’ve got your back kind of thing and we’ll be there for you.’ That would mean the world to me.”

The Medical Review Board has given its approval to only eight claims so far.

The federal government approved a Lake Country man’s vaccination injury for compensation in May. Ross Wightman was the first person in Canada to receive a vaccine injury certificate and be compensated by the government.

Last month BC Rise reported on a freedom of information act request showing a email chain between Dr. Bonnie Henry and other doctors in the province discussing reported vaccine injuries in B.C. including death.

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Jordan
Jordan
Jordan is a casual reporter for BC Rise
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