A WOMAN lost all feeling in her legs and can no longer walk after developing a blood clot and spending 17 days in intensive care.

Mandy Williams, 55, from Mill Hill in Blackburn, received her first Astra-Zeneca Covid jab on March 11, and although she and her doctors are unsure of whether the vaccine led to her developing the blood clot, she is now reluctant to have her second jab, which was due in May.

Health bosses have moved to reassure people and say the risks associated with not getting the vaccine are far greater than getting it.

Ms Williams, whose partner Mark Bury and daughter Shannon Bury have had both jabs, said 19 days after receiving her first injection, on March 30, she was in the garden when all of a sudden she felt immense pain in her legs.

She said: “The pain was horrendous, and then I couldn’t feel my legs, they’d just gone from under me.”

The 55-year-old was taken to Royal Blackburn Hospital where doctors found a huge blood clot in her left leg. She had emergency surgery to remove the clot and was put on a life-support machine, and remained in intensive care for two weeks where she also contracted pneumonia.

Mr Bury said: “We were called to come to the hospital at 11.30pm so we could see her as it was touch and go, and then we had to leave because of Covid, but I was told to stand by my phone as the doctors didn’t know whether she would pull through. She spent 17 days in intensive care and eight weeks in hospital altogether, but we weren’t allowed to visit her after that first night because of the visiting restrictions.

“It was a really stressful time.”

Ms Williams says she can’t remember much of what happened, but recalls waking up and having to have an airway inserted as she couldn’t maintain her breathing independently.

This remained in place until April 12, and two weeks after being admitted she was able to move to a different ward.

Ms Williams was allowed to leave hospital last month, but now needs a walking frame to assist her movement as she can’t walk more than three metres unaided.

She continued: “It’s funny how this happened after I had the jab.

“The hospital told me they were investigating how the blood clot occurred and I have asked them again but we still haven’t heard anything.

“I can only think it was the vaccine as before I used to walk my dogs every day and work as a cleaner, and have never really been ill, and now I can’t even walk without help.

“I’m embarrassed to leave the house. I’m 55 but feel like an 85-year-old. I’m now really scared to have my second jab as I nearly died, and don’t want to have another reaction like that.”

Mr Bury says even if the clot was caused by the vaccine he would still encourage everyone to get the jab regardless.

He said: “I have had both vaccines and even went to get my second one when Mandy was in hospital, and I’ve been fine. In my view there’s a very small chance of developing a blood clot from the vaccine and it’s definitely safer to have it than not have it, and I would say to people to go and get the vaccine when offered it.”

Ms Williams said despite wanting the second dose she is scared, and feels there should be more information available about the possible side effects.

She added: “They said there’s a two per cent chance I will get feeling back in my leg.

“I’ve been very unlucky but if it wasn’t for the wonderful people working in the NHS who looked after me then I would probably be dead.”

According to NHS Covid-19 vaccination and blood clotting guidance, clots are seen more often in younger people and tend to occur between four days and four weeks following vaccination.

The NHS says it is extremely rare for some aged over 50 to develop clotting problems (around 1 in 100,000 first doses).

Doctor Abdul Mannan, from Hazelvalley Family Practice in Rossendale, said that blood clots after getting the AstraZeneca vaccine are extremely rare and shouldn’t stop people from getting vaccinated.

He said: “The risk of getting a clot from the vaccine is actually very small.

"The consequence of getting Covid-19 is much greater than the harm a vaccine could cause.

“While the risk of developing a blood clot is slightly higher than average than a person who hasn’t taken the vaccine, it’s far smaller than the risk associated with a woman taking the contraceptive pill or even just an adult man living their everyday life.”

Dr June Raine, Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency chief executive, said: “Over 75 million doses of vaccines against COVID-19 have now been administered in the UK, saving thousands of lives through the biggest vaccination programme that has ever taken place in this country.

“No effective medicine or vaccine is without risk. Our advice remains that the benefits of the vaccine outweigh the risks in the majority of people.

“It is still vitally important that people come forward for their vaccination and for their second dose when invited to do so. We ask anyone who suspects they have experienced a side effect linked with their COVID-19 vaccine to report it to the Coronavirus Yellow Card website.”