30 cases of narcolepsy identified by HSE

Thursday 02 February 2012 00.11
900,000 doses of Pandemrix were given by HSE clinics in 2009-2010
900,000 doses of Pandemrix were given by HSE clinics in 2009-2010

The Health Service Executive has said that it has identified 30 cases of the sleeping disorder narcolepsy as part of an investigation into a possible link between the condition and the swine flu vaccine, Pandemrix.

However, the body has said that this figure includes those who have not had a final clinical diagnosis and a small number of patients who did not receive the vaccine.

The HSE has said that it is working to identify any potential cases as part of ongoing clinical research into any possible link and its Health Protection Surveillance Centre is leading this research.

The results of the research are expected early this year.

A group set up to represent parents who believe their children developed the sleeping disorder after vaccination met officials from the HSE today.

Before the meeting, Mairead Lawless of SOUND had said it was disappointed with how little progress has been made to deal with its concerns and the health and educational needs of those affected.

At the meeting today, the group sought extra funding for support for those affected, up to and including third level education.

The children or young adults range in age from five to 21 years old.

The HSE has said that two members of SOUND have agreed to join the HSE management team dealing with the issue.

The group met Minister for Health James Reilly late last September.

HSE clinics administered over 900,000 doses of Pandemrix in 2009 and 2010.

It said that all medication, including vaccines, can potentially lead to adverse effects in a small number of people.

The use of Pandemrix is no longer recommended in Ireland and GPs have been advised to return any remaining stocks. This year's seasonal flu vaccine does not contain Pandemrix.

Authorities in Finland have commenced a compensation process that includes an initial payment, ongoing assessment of needs and possibly the payment of a lifetime pension where the individual's ability to work and make a living is affected.