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Mother's arm erupts in agonising rash after getting AstraZeneca jab

Mother’s arm erupts in agonising red rash after getting AstraZeneca’s Covid vaccine – as 41-year-old claims she is still in unbearble pain two weeks later

  • Leigh King, 41, hairdresser, said her skin flared up after she got AstraZeneca jab
  • Mother said she was unable to look after 13-year-old autistic son due to the pain
  • Britain’s drug regulator lists rashes as a possible reaction to AstraZeneca’s jab
  • It says they are uncommon – affecting one in 100 people – following clinical trials 

A mother’s face, chest and arm erupted into a painful red rash after suffering an allergic reaction to the AstraZeneca coronavirus vaccine.

Leigh King, a 41-year-old hairdresser from North Lanarkshire in Scotland, said her skin flared up almost immediately after she got her first dose two weeks ago – and is still sore now. 

‘My skin was so sore and constantly hot,’ she said. ‘I have never felt pain like this… and to say it’s been the worst time of my life is an absolute understatement.’

Ms King said she has been unable to look after her 13-year-old autistic son Aidan because of the burning rashes, who is now scared to go near her.

She went to hospital for help three times but was turned away by doctors despite the pain being so bad she could ‘barely walk out’ on the final visit.

Britain’s drug regulator lists rashes as an ‘uncommon’ side-effect of the AstraZeneca jab – affecting up to one in 100 people – and has recorded 3,795 cases so far.

It does not list them as a possible reaction to the Pfizer vaccine, but a few thousand Britons have also reported suffering rashes after getting that jab. 

More than 34million jabs have been administered in the UK so far, with the majority thought to have been supplied by AstraZeneca. 

NHS England said it could not comment on individual cases, but that the jabs approved for use in the UK met ‘strict standards’ on quality, safety and efficacy. 

Leigh King, a 41-year-old hairdresser from North Lanarkshire, said her skin erupted into rashes almost immediately after she got the AstraZeneca vaccine. Britain’s drug regulator lists rashes as a possible side-effect of the coronavirus vaccine 

Ms King added the pain was agonising, had persisted for more than two weeks, and left her unable to care for her 13-year-old autistic son Aidan


The Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) has listed the below as side-effects of the AstraZeneca vaccine.

Very Common (may affect more than one in 10 people)

  • Tenderness, pain, warmth, itching or bruising where injection is given;
  • Generally feeling unwell;
  • Feeling tired (fatigue);
  • Chills or feeling feverish;
  • Headache;
  • Feeling sick (nausea);
  • Joint pain or muscle ache.

Common (may affect up to one in 10 people)

  • Swelling, redness or lump at the injection site;
  • Fever;
  • Being sick (vomiting) or diarrhoea;
  • Flu-like symptoms, such as high temperature, sore throat, runny nose, cough and chills.

Uncommon (may affect up to one in 100 people)

  • Feeling dizzy;
  • Decreased appetite;
  • Abdominal pain;
  • Enlarged lymph nodes;
  • Excessive sweating, itchy skin or a rash.

Source: MHRA

Ms King got her first dose of the Oxford-made jab on March 12, but was still suffering from pain more than two weeks later.

‘I am a very healthy person and am not on any medication or anything like that. I am not even in a vulnerable category,’ she said.

‘I only got the vaccine as I am an unpaid carer for my son who has autism and mobility issues. But I haven’t even been able to care for him since I got the vaccine as I am in such pain.’

Ms King said she waited 48 hours before seeking treatment from doctors, in line with medical advice, but was turned away each time. She is now waiting to be examined by a skin specialist. 

Speaking about the impact on her family, she said Aidan is scared to come near her because of the red skin and is ‘struggling to understand what is going on’. 

‘At home is his happy place and I am his best pal. I got this vaccine to care for Aidan but I haven’t even been able to do that.

‘He is seeing a specialist in Glasgow soon and I won’t be able to be there for him. 

‘I can’t be there when he needs me most.’

Ms King added she is not against vaccines but feels she has been ‘let down on every level’ and that her case has not been followed up appropriately.

It is unclear whether the AstraZeneca vaccine triggered her skin reaction. 

The Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) said all jabs go through a rigorous quality check to ensure they are safe before they are approved.

Officials ask anyone suffering any health issues after they have been vaccinated to report it to their Yellow Card system in case any serious side-effects crop up.

The list shows rashes have been recorded both for AstraZeneca and Pfizer’s vaccine – with the latter having 2,602 cases recorded since the first dose was dished out in December.

Rashes can be triggered by a multitude of factors including pollen irritating the skin, insect bites and exposure to heat. 

An NHS spokesperson said: ‘Any coronavirus vaccine that is approved must go through all the clinical trials and safety checks all other licensed medicines go through. The MHRA follows international standards of safety.

‘Other vaccines are being developed. They will only be available on the NHS once they have been thoroughly tested to make sure they are safe and effective.

‘So far, millions of people have been given a Covid-19 vaccine and reports of serious side effects, such as allergic reactions, have been very rare. No long-term complications have been reported.’

The Government has ordered more than 100million doses of the AstraZeneca vaccine, with its doses mostly being manufactured at three factories in the UK. 

It has also ordered 40million doses of the Pfizer vaccine and 17million of the Moderna shot which will be dished out in the coming weeks. 

It comes after Germany suspended use of the AstraZeneca vaccine for under-60s following 31 cases of a rare blood clot among 2.7million doses administered. 

Angela Merkel last night defended Germany’s decision as she and Emmanuel Macron made overtures to Vladimir Putin to get Moscow’s Sputnik V jab into the EU.

The chancellor insisted that ‘trust stems from the knowledge that every suspicion, every individual case will be examined’.

But surveys show that public trust in the vaccine has slumped in EU nations during a months-long back-and-forth over the jab, which experts from the UK, WHO and EU have found to be safe and effective in preventing Covid-19.

With the AstraZeneca roll-out once again mired in chaos, Merkel and Macron last night discussed co-operating with the Kremlin to produce Sputnik V within the EU in what would amount to a major propaganda coup for Putin.

Some politicians in Germany have already called for Sputnik V to be approved as the AstraZeneca row hampers a jab programme already struggling to pick up the pace across the EU.

Merkel, who is 66 and a trained scientist, said she is open to getting the AstraZeneca jab herself, adding that ‘the possibility of me being vaccinated is nearing’.

‘I have said when it is my turn, I will get vaccinated, including with AstraZeneca,’ she said.

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