Truth, Inspiration, Hope.

Canadian Man Develops Functional Neurological Disorder After First Dose of AstraZeneca Vaccine

Neil Campbell
Neil lives in Canada and writes about society and politics.
Published: July 21, 2021
A health worker holds up a vial of Covishield, AstraZeneca-Oxford's injection, at the Ayeyarwady Covid Center in Yangon, Myanmar on January 27, 2021. Kevin Street, a Canadian, has developed Functional Neurological Disorder and became disabled after accepting the first dose of AstraZeneca’s offering.
A health worker holds up a vial of Covishield, AstraZeneca-Oxford's injection, at the Ayeyarwady Covid Center in Yangon, Myanmar on January 27, 2021. Kevin Street, a Canadian, has developed Functional Neurological Disorder and became disabled after accepting the first dose of AstraZeneca’s offering. (Image: SAI AUNG MAIN/AFP via Getty Images)

A middle-aged Canadian man developed severe neurological side effects after taking the first dose of the AstraZeneca vaccine. He now shakes, has memory issues, suffers from ringing in the ears, and has extreme difficulty walking, according to video documentation of his experience posted on his Facebook.

In a July 19 interview with Canadian independent media outlet Rebel News, Kevin Street said he took the first dose of the AstraZeneca vaccine to do his part to combat COVID-19 eight weeks ago. He said all was well until approximately five hours after the injection when he “started having some side effects almost immediately that were concerning.” 

“However, I felt as though they were common things that we were hearing around town as far as you know, flu like symptoms, and just really really tired and almost to the point where it knocks you down.”

Kevin said he spent the first four days in bed getting over what he described as flu-like symptoms. After his symptoms didn’t abate, Street said he was tired of lying in bed and decided to try to work through the hardship.

Unfortunately, after two weeks not only did his condition fail to improve, “Then it kind of took a different turn.”

Not just under the weather

Street says one day “It literally went off like a switch.” After he came home from a rough day at work as a District Manager at cellular phone retailer Wireless Wave in Pembroke, he was talking to his wife Andrea in their backyard. Street implied he didn’t remember exactly what happened, but Andrea told him after the fact that they were looking each other in the eye during a conversation when suddenly Kevin’s eyes rolled into the back of his head and he collapsed.

Kevin was out cold for 5 to 10 seconds. When he regained consciousness, he was no longer coherent.

“Things got extremely intense,” he said, describing how his condition evolved. “It was no longer just a headache and a ringing in my ears…and [being] really, really, sluggish and stuff….It almost turned into a disconnect between my head and my body as far as thinking…intense cloud…literally functioning in your own little bubble.”

“It almost numbs you down to the point where you don’t have any feelings left. You don’t have any drive.”

Kevin’s Facebook account has a very sparse and sporadic posting history, mostly involving tropical vacation pictures over the years. Until July 5, 2021 when he posted a video captioned “Yet another trip to the hospital…I fear for all of you thinking its (sic) safe. Its (sic) actually so unsafe they don’t want to acknowledge those injured yet.”

In the video, Kevin’s speech is notably slower and more slurred than it is in his interview with Rebel, “All right. I’m speaking because I have a voice today,” he says with demonstrable difficulty. “I just left my doctor’s office. I couldn’t be more disappointed. What’s going on with me, this isn’t made up. You can’t make this stuff up, and they know it. The problem is, is they don’t want to admit what’s going on here.”

“Eight weeks ago I took a needle in my arm, and ever since then, my life has changed,” Kevin said with notable emotion as he mentioned “Now I can barely walk.”

On July 17, Kevin posted another video to his Facebook captioned “Probably not ready to go back to work just yet” demonstrating the extreme difficulty he now suffers simply to stay balanced and moving his legs. During the video, Kevin speaks lucidly and very coherently, but his movements are almost akin to someone who is suffering extreme vertigo or heavy alcohol intoxication.

On July 9, Andrea posted to her Facebook account a video of Kevin struggling to hold himself upright with a stick where she says “I don’t think I’ve seen you this bad yet.” Kevin can barely stand and barely move his legs. Andrea captioned the post “I admire your strength, courage and humour to go through this…It’s time. We need a walker.”

In his interview with Rebel, Kevin says he has lost the ability to carry normal conversations with others and endured a period where he could no longer speak, “I actually, finally last week, I got back the ability to have this conversation with people because I really couldn’t form a sentence. My speech was extremely slurred…the headache, it’s been there now for six or seven weeks.”

“I literally sit out in my front yard underneath a big wind chime because my ears ring so bad. That’s how I overcome and try to keep a smile on my face day to day.”

Kevin said the difficulty is great because what he is experiencing “Are all invisible [to others]. It’s really weird to go from, you know, a normal person or somewhat normal and having fun with everybody to a person who feels it’s a challenge to even do that now.” 

“It’s really frustrating and scary,” he said.

As for specific symptoms, Kevin said his ability to walk disappears “literally around 3:30 to 4:00 o’clock every day,” afterwards his body becomes fatigued and he has no choice but to rest.

He calls the experience “A new challenge.”

Informed consent

Rebel reporter Tamara Ugolini asked Street whether he felt he had been informed of the potential side effects by the pharmacist who administered his injection before giving his consent. His reply: “That’s a definite not.”

“The way that things happened, the way that the drugs even are administered, the way that everything is presented is ‘this is a normal thing that has to happen to you’,” he said.

“As far as consent goes, there was none of that. In fact, I asked about the safetiness (sic) of this vaccination and the response to it was, ‘this is better than getting COVID’,” and that the risk of possible neurological reactions as a result of accepting the injection, “definitely didn’t come up.”

Kevin said if he had been informed, his consent would have been unlikely; “I probably would have had a different outcome as far as whether or not I would have allowed this to happen to my body.” 

“Beyond what the public is saying because the methods of getting the message to go out and get this needle is very very promoted all over every type of media. It’s pretty destructive how it’s been presented.”

Kevin says no doctors are willing to register his symptoms as a vaccine adverse reaction. Despite physician hesitancy, he nonetheless has been advised to not accept the second dose of the AstraZeneca vaccine.

Red tape

Kevin ran into an obstacle when trying to obtain his medical records from the hospital. After two and a half weeks of struggle just to begin the process of having his medical records issued, he was finally told he could have them; only to be called back the same day and advised that his family doctor had to approve the issuance before he could receive them.

According to Kevin, now that he has become disabled, he has been off work for five weeks and there does not appear to be any social programs or government outreach available to help his family, “When this rolled out, I actually assumed that should something like this happen that it would be something the government would be supporting us behind.”

“I love to work and my income is very dependent on my sales abilities, which obviously I can’t do now,” he says.

“So my income has been slashed quite a bit…more than half…My wife is now taking more shifts, trying to create a little bit more income for our family because it really does take dual income today in society and with my income being drastically reduced, it’s definitely becoming more and more of a thought in the back of my head as to trying to speed up the recovery of this so I can get back to work and try and prepare for next month.”

Kevin and Andrea have created a GoFundMe to help, where he has raised almost $10,000.

Ugolini asked Kevin if he had a message for fellow Canadians who were thinking of getting vaccinated, “When it comes down to this particular vaccine and the way it’s been rolled out and the way that it’s been followed up on, it’s not something that I could really endorse.”

“I try to do life as it makes sense, and that’s why I took this in the first place. And to see that there’s really no structure available for those that had adverse effects to this, it’s very frustrating and alarming.”

“In this country, my message is very, very simple and clear: we live in a country that boasts about health care and that we’ll be taken care of. It’s just kind of the society that we live in. And when it comes down to it and we reach out and don’t get answers, it’s really, really frustrating and it’s almost alarming how the reach out doesn’t come to me.”

According to Rebel, Kevin’s official diagnosis is Functional Neurological Disorder (FND), which Mayo Clinic defines as “nervous system (neurological) symptoms that can’t be explained by a neurological disease or other medical condition. However, the symptoms are real and cause significant distress or problems functioning.”

Mayo also says FND is “Related to how the brain functions, rather than damage to the brain’s structure (such as from a stroke, multiple sclerosis, infection or injury)…Symptoms can vary in severity and may come and go or be persistent. However, you can’t intentionally produce or control your symptoms,” which is consistent with cases like Kevin’s where his blood work and MRI all return normal parameters despite his observable and extreme symptoms.

Rebel says because FND is such a vague diagnosis, Street was prescribed antidepressants as his only treatment.