In early 2009, the Irish State purchased the Pandemrix vaccine from GlaxoSmithKline in response to a threat of death in high risk population groups as a result of the human swine flu (H1N1) Pandemic. In or about the same time, the State also purchased an alternative vaccine called Celvapan, manufactured by Baxter. This vaccine differed principally from Pandemrix in that it did not contain an adjuvant, known as Squalene or ASO3, which was designed to boost the immunological response in recipients but which is now implicated in the association between Pandemrix and Narcolepsy in certain children and adolescents. Between 2009 and 2010, over 940,000 doses of Pandemrix were provided to 22.5% of the Irish Public, in comparison to Celvapan, which was administered to only 3.1% of the population. The reason for this discrepancy in distribution remains unclear.
Following reports in Finland and Sweden of significant increases in the incidence of Narcolepsy amongst children and adolescents who had been vaccinated with Pandemrix, the Department of Health undertook their own review of the situation in this country, publishing a report in April 2012. The results of this investigation found a 13 fold increase in the incidence of Narcolepsy amongst the same population groups, with approximately 50 new cases having been identified to date.
Augustus Cullen Law represent a significant number of those diagnosed with Narcolepsy following receipt of the Pandemrix vaccine in potential litigation against the State and the Manufacturers of the vaccine. As a result of their involvement, they will be addressing an International Conference in Stockholm on the 8th and 9th November where the progress of such litigation in each country will be assessed, and the experiences of those affected discussed.
For more information on this case or any other medical negligence queries, please contact the following:
- David McKechnie, Associate Solicitor
27 October 2013