Swine flu jab narcolepsy risk

Research has found that a swine flu jab given to children carried an increased risk of developing narcolepsy.

Govt: Swine flu jab use 'based on available evidence'

The Department of Health said the decision to use a swine flu vaccine that has been found to increase the risk of developing narcolepsy was based on advice from the European Medicines Agency:

Pandemrix was developed specifically for use in a flu pandemic when the number of lives lost and serious cases could have been enormous.

The decision to recommend that children got this vaccine during the flu pandemic was based on evidence available at the time, along with the advice from the European Medicines Agency which approved its use.

We keep all emerging evidence under review and that's why use of Pandemrix in those less than 20 years old was stopped in the UK in 2011.

– Department of Health spokesperson
West Country (E)

Mother threatening to sue after swine flu jab

Caroline Hadfield believes her son developed narcolepsy after having the swine flu jab.
Caroline Hadfield believes her son developed narcolepsy after having the swine flu jab. Credit: Fred Lancelot/ABACAPRESS.COM

A mother from Somerset is threatening to sue the government after new figures show a link between the swine flu jab and Narcolepsy.

Caroline Hadfield says her son Josh, 4, developed the condition within three months of the injection. She says he was a perfectly healthy and energetic child before the vaccination but now sleeps for 19 hours a day.

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Swine flu vaccine has not been used for two years

Research, published in the British Medical Journal, has found a link between children who were given the swine flu jab and the sleep disorder narcolepsy.

  • Seventy five children aged between four and 18, who were diagnosed with narcolepsy from January 2008 and attended sleep centres across England, were examined
  • Researchers found 11 of these received the vaccine before their symptoms began

The use of the vaccine in people under the age of 20 has been restricted across Europe since 2011, following reports of increased cases of the sleep disorder.

Swine flu findings 'consistent' with European studies

Professor Liz Miller, a consultant epidemiologist with the Health Protection Agency, said that findings which have linked the swine flu vaccine to an increased risk of narcolepsy, are consistent with those from European studies.

She added that further studies would be needed to assess the risk of other vaccines used during the swine flu pandemic.

This risk may be overestimated by more rapid referral of vaccinated cases. Long term follow up of people exposed to Pandemrix is needed before we can fully establish the extent of the association.

Our findings have implications for the future licensing and use of adjuvanted pandemic vaccines. Further studies to assess the possible risk associated with other vaccines used in the pandemic, including those with and without adjuvants, are also needed to inform the use of such vaccines in the event of a future pandemic.

Increased risk of narcolepsy from swine flu jab

Research has found that a swine flu jab given to children carried an increased risk of developing narcolepsy.

Experts said the vaccine Pandemrix increased the child's risk of the disorder, which causes excessive daytime sleepiness.

Pandemrix, used in the swine flu vaccine Credit: Niall Carson/PA Archive/Press Association Images

The research suggests that for every 55,000 doses delivered, around one child developed the condition.

More than 850,000 English children aged six months to 16 years were given the vaccine at the height of the pandemic.