Vaccine

It is reported that proceedings will shortly be served on the Irish government concerning adult narcolepsy victims. It is claimed that many people developed narcolepsy following in the administration of the Pandemrix swine flu vaccine. Narcolepsy (NAR-ko-lep-se) is a disorder that causes periods of extreme daytime sleepiness. The disorder also may cause muscle weakness.Some people who have the disorder fall asleep suddenly, even if they’re in the middle of talking, eating, or another activity.

The cases are being brought against the State, the HSE, the Department of Health and Glaxo Smith Kline (‘GSK’).

To date, it is reported that victims have been issued medical cards, but there is now also a call for a redress scheme to be set up.

There is a substantial body of science from studies in Sweden, Finland, Ireland and Britain that children who have received the vaccine have between 7 and 13 times the risk of developing narcolepsy to those who have not been immunised with this particular vaccine.

GSK accepts the evidence of a statistical link, but this does not amount to an acceptance that their ingredients are the cause of the narcolepsy.

The European Medicines Agency are also investigating and say there are questions around the safety of an adjuvant called AS03, which is used to enhance the efficacy of the vaccine.

Irish families are joining a European alliance in efforts to highlight these issues and to lobby for state support for the hundreds of children who have been affected.

Pandemrix was supplied to 30 million people in the European Union as a vaccine against the H1N1 version of swine flu.

Out of the 30 million that were given the vaccine, statistically at least 100,000 of them will have narcolepsy. As the syndrome is so under-diagnosed, 80% will not have a diagnosis of narcolepsy. It could be that doctors who were looking for a reaction to the vaccine discovered patients with an existing condition.

It is early days in the investigation of this issue, but if you think you have been affected it is strongly recommended that you consult your doctor first and thereafter your solicitor.

There are strict time limits in bringing cases and therefore the clock may be ticking against you from the day the vaccine was administered. In general terms, a two-year limit applies but every case has its own particular facts determining when the clock on the statute of limitations commences.

Sean O’Riordan is a Partner in FitzGerald Solicitors specialising in Personal Injury Litigation. FitzGerald Solicitors are located at 6 Lapps Quay, Cork.

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