MY NAME is Stephen Bowie, I’m 49 and I suffered an adverse reaction to the AstraZeneca vaccine.

On May 3 2021 I was driving to work when I started feeling something was very wrong. I pulled over and after a few minutes I decided to get to hospital quickly. I reversed into the parking space perfectly, even though I had to use both hands to get it in reverse and put the handbrake on.

I walked as fast as I could into the reception, gave the receptionist my details and sat down. Under five minutes later, they called my name; I tried to stand up but couldn’t.

I was rushed into A&E, I can’t really remember much but I remember being told I had suffered a spinal stroke. I was paralysed from the neck down for two weeks. I was told that I spent two nights in ICU because my blood pressure and temperature had dropped dangerously low.

I was in the ward for about two weeks when the doctor from A&E came to see me. He told me that someone else had been admitted with a spinal stroke and we both had the AstraZeneca vaccine a few weeks before we were hospitalised. He had filled in a Yellow Card for adverse effects.

I spent a total of almost three months in hospital and the neurology rehabilitation unit. I had to learn how to do almost everything again, my walking still isn’t that great yet but at least I can walk a little bit.

I was discharged on July 29 2021 and couldn’t wait to get home. I managed to avoid depression when I was in the hospital but soon after l got home it hit me like a ton of bricks.

Some of the things I’m suffering with at the moment are depression, anxiety, chronic neck/back/leg pain, fatigue, insomnia, twitching, cramps, incontinence and stress, to name a few.

In April this year I lost my job. They had kept my position open for a year hoping I could go back to work, but unfortunately due to health and safety issues it wasn’t safe for me. I worked there for eight years and in the space of a 30-minute meeting, my job was gone. Something else this vaccine has taken from me.

Through all this, my fiancée Julie has been by my side, I can’t imagine my life without her, she’s my angel and I love her with all my heart. I also want to thank my family and friends for being there for me.

I left the hospital after my severe reaction to AstraZeneca vaccination and three days later I was told I should take the Pfizer vaccine and that it would be safe for me.

Thank you for reading my story and I wish you all the very best for the future.