Melle Stewart – AstraZeneca 24th May 2021
Severe Adverse Reaction – Vaccine-Induced Thrombocytopenic Thrombosis (VITT) Resulting in Brain Surgery
Melle Stewart was a healthy, talented 40-year-old Australian actor living and working in London with her husband, actor Ben Lewis. On May 24th 2021 Melle received her first dose of the AstraZeneca Covid-19 Vaccine. Two weeks later on June 8th, Melle’s life changed.
Fourteen days after receiving her first dose of the AstraZeneca vaccine, Melle woke up at midnight to a strange feeling on the right-hand side of her body. She tried to get out of bed but quickly collapsed. Melle was rushed to hospital where her condition quickly deteriorated, losing all movement on the right-hand side of her body as well as her ability to speak. She began having seizures and was taken by ambulance to St George’s Hospital, London, where Neurosurgeons battled to save her life, removing a large part of her skull to reduce the pressure in her brain.
After being admitted to the neurological ICU, Melle was formally diagnosed with Vaccine-Induced Thrombocytopenic Thrombosis (VITT), a condition that is now acknowledged by the manufacturer AstraZeneca. Unfortunately, Melle had had a severe stroke, caused by two large clots in the main veins of her brain, with the pressure and low platelets causing a secondary bleed in the left frontal lobe. Melle spent 3 weeks in an induced coma during which time she was ventilated and received a number of blood transfusion procedures to help remove the antibodies created by the vaccine that were causing the clots. She was also put on heavy doses of anti-clotting and anti-seizure medication, which continue to this day.
After 4 and a half weeks in the ICU, Melle’s fighting spirit that we all know and love saw her finally released from the ICU and transferred to an Acute Stroke Unit to commence her rehabilitation. On September 8th, exactly three months after being admitted to hospital, Melle was then transferred to a specialised rehabilitation hospital in London where she will undergo more intensive treatment.
The devastation caused by VITT has been profound. Prior to vaccination, Melle was a fit, healthy 40-year-old, a successful professional actress, dancer and singer who had never been in hospital before. Due to the seriousness of Melle’s condition, she will remain in hospital into 2022. She continues to work hard every day relearning how to walk, talk and move her right arm and hand. Melle, a vibrant storyteller with an undying passion for language and expression, is now re-learning how to make sounds, form words and speak again. Her road to recovery will be a long one including further surgery to fit a titanium plate to replace the portion of her skull previously removed during surgery.
London, United Kingdom