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Lawsuit of the Week: Family sues Whistler Blackcomb owner over vaccine-related stroke claim

Jackson Reimer was 21 when he allegedly got AstraZeneca’s COVID-19 shot through his employer
The B.C. Supreme Court in Vancouver | Rob Kruyt, BIV

A family is suing two pharmaceutical companies and various levels of government after their son allegedly experienced a stroke after getting a COVID-19 vaccine in Whistler.

Jackson Reimer received the AstraZeneca plc shot in March 2021 through Whistler Blackcomb owner Vail Resorts Inc. (NYSE:MTN), his employer, according to a March 17 lawsuit filed in B.C. Supreme Court in Vancouver.

The lawsuit, filed by Jackson and parents Marina and Perry Reimer, names Canadian subsidiary AstraZeneca Canada Inc. as a defendant, along with Verity Pharmaceuticals Inc., a permitted manufacturer of the Covishield vaccine; Vail Resorts; the federal government and the Vancouver Coastal Health Authority (VCH).

Jackson, now 23, had worked for Vail since November 2020. On March 15 the following year, Vail Resorts emailed employees to say they were making the vaccine available through VCH, according to the Reimers’ court filings.

The lawsuit notes Health Canada at that time had been marketing COVID vaccines, including the AstraZeneca vaccine, with the slogan “The first vaccine is the best vaccine.”

The day after Vail Resorts emailed its employees, 13 European Union countries had suspended their authorization of the AstraZeneca vaccine, while U.S. authorities still hadn’t approved it.

Jackson received the vaccine on March 17, 2021. The lawsuit claims that six days later he phoned Marina to say he’d been experiencing severe headaches, loss of vision and dizziness.

He was then taken to the Whistler Care Centre and then transferred to Vancouver General Hospital, where he underwent a CT (computer tomography) scan, which showed he’d experienced a hemorrhagic stroke in his brain, the lawsuit notes. He also required two platelet infusions.

According to the lawsuit, Jackson spent several days in intensive care units, where his mother joined him after flying out from Manitoba.

On March 24, Jackson was still experiencing severe headaches and couldn’t see, the lawsuit says. He became unresponsive a day later.

Doctors then performed a procedure to stop his internal bleeding. He was also intubated.

On March 30, Vail forwarded a VCH memo to employees, including Jackson, to note that the AstraZeneca vaccine had been suspended for those under 55 due to blood clotting issues for younger recipients of the shot.

Since then, Jackson, who had been in “excellent health” prior to the vaccine, has been declared legally blind, struggles with speaking, and has focus and time management issues, according to the lawsuit, and he hasn’t been able to find work or complete his university education.

The plaintiffs claim the defendants were aware that other authorities had suspended approvals of the AstraZeneca vaccine, but still provided Jackson with the shot.

They claim both Health Canada and VCH violated a section of the Food and Drugs Act that prohibits misleading or false advertising or labelling of products by “intermingling” the vaccines to the effect that people didn’t know which vaccines they were getting and by claiming that the “first vaccine is the best vaccine.”

The allegations of have not been proven in court. No defendants have filed responses as of press time.