Narcolepsy – Pandemrix Vaccination
The Pandemrix vaccine was authorised in the EU in September 2009, and was used extensively during the 2009 swine flu pandemic when more than 30 million people were vaccinated with the drug in the EU.
In Ireland HSE clinics and GPs administered more than 900,000 doses of Pandemrix Vaccination during the pandemic. The Government gave indemnity cover to drug maker GlaxoSmithKline at the time the vaccine was issued in 2009. In August 2010, Finland’s National Institute for Health and Welfare recommended that vaccination with Pandemrix be discontinued following reports of a link to narcolepsy.
Studies carried out in Finland and Sweden showed an association between Narcolepsy – Pandemrix vaccination in children, resulting in a 6 to 13-fold increase in those countries.
The current advice from the European Medicines Agency is that the drug should not be used on persons under age 20 unless the recommended seasonal influenza vaccine is not available in cases where immunisation against H1N1 is needed. The HSE has said use of the vaccine is no longer recommended, and that GPs have been advised to return any remaining stocks. The HSE has also confirmed that there are over 30 new cases of children and adolescents who have been diagnosed with narcolepsy. Narcolepsy is a disabling chronic neurological disorder which is characterised by excessive daytime sleepiness which is often accompanied by cataplexy, causing muscle weakness.
A Support group has been set up in Ireland and it is called SOUND. This stands for Sufferers of Unique Narcolepsy Disorder.
Assessing Your Situation:
A panel of experts assess your situation in the following areas:
- Nurses and Physiotherapists with regard to current rehabilitation care and future care.
- Occupation Therapists in assessing aids, equipment and extensions/alterations of homes and transportation.
- Vocational assessors: in assessing employment and educational needs.
- Doctors and Consultants for future medical costs.
- Actuaries to assist with the calculation of present and future loss of earnings for the clients/dependent children or spouses.
- Consultants in assessing the severity of the impact of the injury and mobility into the future.
- It is important to note at this time there is no compensation scheme available for those who have been affected by Narcolepsy.
Important Time Frames
- An individual who has been injured as a result of a medical procedure has 2 years from the date of the injury or 2 years from the date of knowledge in which to take a case and issue proceedings. In the case of those under 18 years of age or those with intellectual impairment time limits are extended by legislation. If in any doubt about whether your case is within the statute of limitations it is important that you seek legal advice.