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European children suffer narcolepsy after swine-flu vaccinations

Posted by on Mar. 25, 2014 at 6:40 PM
  • 32 Replies

European children suffer narcolepsy after swine-flu vaccinations


OSLO, Norway — Lene Victoria Jacobsen vividly remembers when swine-flu panic hit her northern town of Harstad in 2009.

“It felt as if a disaster were about to happen,” she says. “You got tears in your eyes thinking about it, this was something serious.”

She took her two young daughters to a local gym being used to provide mass inoculations against the H1N1 strain, where they received injections of the Pandemrix vaccine.

That’s when Jacobsen’s trouble started. Just six months old at the time, her youngest daughter Sofie developed narcolepsy, a chronic sleep disorder.

“She falls asleep everywhere, even on the toilet,” Jacobsen says.

People with the incurable neurological disease — caused by the brain's inability to regulate sleep cycles — experience excessive daytime sleepiness, hallucinations and other symptoms.

Now 5, Sofie’s not alone. Norway has seen more than 170 reported cases of children developing narcolepsy after receiving the Pandemrix vaccine.

The government has so far paid $13 million to 86 victims, including 60 children, because it hasn’t been able to rule out that their condition stems from the vaccine officials strongly urged them to take. That compensation is expected to rise.

Back in 2009, the Norwegian health authorities urged everyone, not just at-risk groups, to receive vaccinations after the World Health Organization designated swine flu a pandemic.

More than 2 million Norwegians, or 45 percent of the country's population, were given Pandemrix in an unprecedented drive. The vaccine is produced by GlaxoSmithKline (GSK) and was used to inoculate up to 30 million people in 47 other European countries.

After the first cases of what appeared to be vaccine-related narcolepsy were discovered in children in neighboring Sweden and Finland the following summer, the Norwegian health authorities started looking for similar cases and found them. 

Although scientists haven't established a link between Pandemrix and narcolepsy beyond doubt, it’s been accepted by Norwegian officials in practice thanks to strong evidence from a spike in the normally rare disease after so many doses were given in so many countries, says Hanne Noekleby, director of infectious diseases at the Norwegian National Institute of Health.

"This was a very special situation," she says.

Hundreds of cases have also been registered in Britain, France and many other countries.

Nevertheless, GSK has refused to acknowledge a link between its vaccine and narcolepsy in children.

Responding to an emailed question, spokesman David Denby wrote, “While some people vaccinated with Pandemrix have been shown in several published studies to be more likely to develop narcolepsy than those who weren’t, further research is needed to confirm what role the vaccine may have played in the development of narcolepsy among those affected.”

More from GlobalPost: Kyiv needs money, fast

Back in Norway, many victims’ parents aren’t happy with the government’s reaction.

The current maximum payout for a child who was under the age of 16 at the time of the injury is the equivalent of $330,000 for a permanent disability.

"The government is at a fairly low level there, that's what a lot of parents are reacting to," says Christian Lundin, a lawyer in Oslo who represents 40 children who developed narcolepsy after receiving the vaccine.

"Their children were damaged after massive pressure to take a vaccine, and then the government isn’t very amenable when it comes to paying compensation for that."

Although there’s been no litigation so far, Lundin doesn’t rule out the possibility of a class action in the future.

Tove Jensen, whose son developed severe narcolepsy after receiving the vaccine, also wants compensation from GSK.

“The situation is terrible,” she says. “He’s 100 percent disabled. We don't know if it's going to get better, he's on so much medication. But we hope something will happen, that he will get his life back.” 

http://www.globalpost.com/dispatch/news/regions/europe/140320/norway-swine-flu-narcolepsy-pandemrix-vaccinations

by on Mar. 25, 2014 at 6:40 PM
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Replies (1-10):
stormcris
by Christy on Mar. 25, 2014 at 6:57 PM

Oh my that sounds horrid.

meriana
by Platinum Member on Mar. 25, 2014 at 7:22 PM

Horrible and unfortunately, any research GSK does will only serve to leave the question as to it being a result of the vaccine very open if not discount it entirely.

Years ago a friend and I visited for an afternoon with a woman who had Narcolepsy. Very nice woman but it wasn't easy to visit with her as she'd be telling us something and fall asleep literally mid-sentence. A few times it was just a minute or two before she woke up and continued her sentence and other times, it was long enough she wouldn't remember what she'd been saying or what had been said to her. It was so long ago, I can't remember much more than that but I believe she had help at home and I do remember she never went out because she never knew when she'd fall asleep. It is a very limiting type of disability

pixie92
by Platinum Member on Mar. 25, 2014 at 8:19 PM
2 moms liked this

This is why people say to never take a new vaccine. We never know what it will do to us long term. This is so sad. I feel for the people affected and their families.

PinkButterfly66
by Gold Member on Mar. 25, 2014 at 8:25 PM
2 moms liked this

The swine flu is preferable to this horrible vaccine reaction.  

Luvnlogic
by Silver Member on Mar. 25, 2014 at 8:34 PM
So sad. I hope all of these kids get properly compensated and all of their medical needs taken care of by GSK on top of it.
LindaClement
by Thatwoman on Mar. 25, 2014 at 10:16 PM
1 mom liked this

This is why animal testing is so important...

TranquilMind
by Platinum Member on Mar. 25, 2014 at 11:00 PM

In 2012, the British drugmaker GlaxoSmithKline agreed to plead guilty to criminal charges and pay $3 billion in fines for promoting its best-selling antidepressants for unapproved uses and failing to report safety data about a diabetes drug, the largest pharmaceutical settlement ever. 

Would you trust this company for ANYTHING?  I wouldn't.

I had the swine flu in 2009, one of the initial cases, before it even hit the media.  No fun for me and I was in bed for a couple of weeks.  My kids barely got a sniffle. 

Woodbabe
by Woodie on Mar. 25, 2014 at 11:08 PM
1 mom liked this

Nothing to see here...move along....


VooDooB
by Platinum Member on Mar. 25, 2014 at 11:18 PM
Funny. I had it at the very end of 2008 - we flew to and from to spend xmas with family. I was sick from the day after xmas until well into mid-January. My husband never so much as blew a snot.

Quoting TranquilMind:

In 2012, the British drugmaker GlaxoSmithKline agreed to plead guilty to criminal charges and pay $3 billion in fines for promoting its best-selling antidepressants for unapproved uses and failing to report safety data about a diabetes drug, the largest pharmaceutical settlement ever. 


Would you trust this company for ANYTHING?  I wouldn't.


I had the swine flu in 2009, one of the initial cases, before it even hit the media.  No fun for me and I was in bed for a couple of weeks.  My kids barely got a sniffle. 

TranquilMind
by Platinum Member on Mar. 25, 2014 at 11:19 PM

 That's weird.  Mine either.  Maybe a sniffle or two, but he never gets anything, and I rarely do. 

Quoting VooDooB: Funny. I had it at the very end of 2008 - we flew to and from to spend xmas with family. I was sick from the day after xmas until well into mid-January. My husband never so much as blew a snot.
Quoting TranquilMind:

In 2012, the British drugmaker GlaxoSmithKline agreed to plead guilty to criminal charges and pay $3 billion in fines for promoting its best-selling antidepressants for unapproved uses and failing to report safety data about a diabetes drug, the largest pharmaceutical settlement ever. 

Would you trust this company for ANYTHING?  I wouldn't.

I had the swine flu in 2009, one of the initial cases, before it even hit the media.  No fun for me and I was in bed for a couple of weeks.  My kids barely got a sniffle. 

 

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