Augustus Cullen Law are currently pursuing claims for substantial compensation for a large number of children and adults who developed narcolepsy shortly after being vaccinated with Pandemrix in response to the Swine flu (H1N1) virus.
By way of background, during the 2009/2010 Swine Flu (H1N1) pandemic in Europe, Pandemrix was widely used to vaccinate people including 900,000 people in Ireland. Following an increase in narcolepsy cases in children after receiving the Pandemrix vaccination, investigations were carried out by health agencies across Europe. The Department of Health carried out an investigation into the association between narcolepsy and Pandemrix and they found that there was a 13 fold increase in the risk of narcolepsy in vaccinated individuals compared with unvaccinated individuals. These results are similar to those in Sweden and Finland.
A key ingredient, ASO3, in the Pandemrix vaccination has come under serious scrutiny as the possible link between the vaccination and narcolepsy. ASO3 is a class of pharmaceuticals known as adjuvants which act as a booster for the vaccination and increases the body’s immune response to it. This meant that only a fraction of the antigen (the part that does the immunising) is required to give protection against the H1N1 virus when the adjuvant is added. The pharmaceutical companies can produce larger quantities of the vaccines in less time with sufficient protection against the virus because of the adjuvants. The ASO3 adjuvant in Pandemrix was very potent and it is believed may have boosted both a good immune response but also an adverse one. The ASO3 is a combination of 3 ingredients, squalene (an oil derived from shark livers), a form of vitamin E called DL-alphatocopherol and a mixing agent, polysorbate 80.
Almost 50 people in Ireland and over 800 across Europe have been affected by narcolepsy, a life-long incurable disease, following the Pandemrix vaccination. The symptoms of narcolepsy include daytime sleepiness, hallucinations, sleep paralysis, weight increases and cataplexies which is a sudden loss of muscle tone ranging from slackness of facial muscles to total collapse. We have been investigating claims for compensation on behalf of the majority of families affected by narcolepsy. In certain cases we have already issued proceedings against the State and GlaxoSmithKline as the producers of Pandemrix.
If you or your child has been affected by narcolepsy and wish for us to investigate your case or if you require further information, please contact any of the following from our medical negligence group:
- Michael Boylan, Partner, Head of Medical Negligence Group
21 February 2013