There are new reports of approximately 800 children in Sweden and throughout Europe who have developed a sleep disorder, known as narcolepsy, after being vaccinated with the Pandemrix H1N1 swine flu vaccine, made by British drug manufacturer GlaxoSmithKline (GSK) in 2009.
More than 30 million people in 47 countries received GSK’s Pandemrix flu vaccine. This vaccine contains an adjuvant not used in the U.S. There are now 795 people across Europe who reported developing narcolepsy since the vaccine hit the market in 2009, Reuters reports. Finland, Norway, France and Sweden all claim they saw spikes in the sleep disorder and Britain will most likely follow in the coming weeks when their study is published.
Scientists are carefully looking at Pandemrix’s adjuvant called AS03. Some say that AS03, or its boosting effects, may have started the narcolepsy in those who have the susceptible HLA gene variant.
Narcolepsy is a chronic nervous system disorder that causes excessive drowsiness. It often causes people to fall asleep uncontrollably. In more severe cases, some suffer hallucinations or paralyzing physical collapses called cataplexy—when strong emotions trigger a sudden, dramatic loss of muscle strength. It brings daytime sleepiness, nightmares, hallucinations and sleep paralysis and is estimated to affect between 200-500 people per million. It is a lifelong condition. Research shows that some people are born with a variant in a gene known as HLA, which means they have low hypocretin and makes them more susceptible for narcolepsy.
Emelie Olssen is a 14-year-old who began suffering from narcolepsy symptoms after taking the Pandemrix flu shot. Emelie finds it necessary to use drug “cocktails” in order to help control her symptoms. For her daytime sleepiness and nighttime terrors, she takes the stimulant, Ritalin and sleeping pill, Sobril. She also takes Prozac to try to limit her cataplexies.
In Emelie’s case, having fun is an emotional trigger. “I can’t laugh or joke about with my friends anymore, because when I do, I get cataplexies and collapse,” she said in an interview. “In the beginning, I really didn’t want to live anymore, but now I have learned to handle things better,” she said.
Emelie’s parents say that she was a top student who loved playing piano, having tennis lessons, creating art and just hanging with her friends. Her life began to change in early 2010, just a few months after taking Pandemrix. In the spring of 2010, her parents noticed that she was often tired, needing to sleep right after school. It wasn’t until May when she began collapsing at school that it became clear something very serious was going on.
Scientists have published peer-reviewed studies from Sweden, Finland and Ireland showing that the risk of developing narcolepsy after the 2009-2010 vaccination campaign was between 7 and 13 times higher for children who had Pandemrix than those who were not vaccinated.
Emmanuel Mignot, one of the world’s leading experts on narcolepsy at Stanford University says that the evidence is already clearly pointing in one direction. Mignot told the news service, “There’s no doubt in my mind whatsoever that Pandemrix increases the occurrence of narcolepsy onset in children in some countries—and probably in most countries.”
The shot is no longer available in the E.U.
Although the evidence is not yet conclusive, there are far too many children who developed narcolepsy just a couple of weeks after receiving the swine flu vaccine. Fortunately, this vaccine was never sold in the U.S. These parents thought they were acting for the good of their children, but in reality, they were only giving their children a permanent sleeping disorder.
Do you think more research should have been conducted before inoculating so many children? Feel free to comment on this blog post. Contact our Gacovino Lake attorneys at 1-800-246-HURT (4878).