Compensation paid out for vaccine-related narcolepsy sufferers/ YLE

Per YLE, the government of Finland is paying out small sums to 80 children who developed narcolepsy after Pandemrix vaccination, while 30 cases are still being evaluated.  That is a lot of childhood narcolepsy in a country of only 5.4 million people, and only about 44 swine flu-related deaths.

Compensation is being granted to youngsters who suffer from narcolepsy resulting from a swine flu jab given last year.

Long-awaited compensation is now being paid to those who developed narcolepsy as a result of the swine flu vaccine Pandemrix.

Decisions on compensation have been given to just under eighty sufferers. Around 30 cases are still under review. A medical insurance pool will cover claims up to 30 million euros. The state will pick up the tab for compensation exceeding this sum.

YLE reported on Wednesday that a ten year-old patient is to receive initial damages of 11,700 euros to be followed by another lump payment when he turns 18. An 18 year-old patient has meanwhile been awarded 22,000 euros for the injury sustained. 

UPDATE:   A correspondent called my attention to this document from Finland’s Department of Health.  I am told it says (in Finnish) that Pandemrix swine flu vaccine may be used if there is insufficient influenza vaccine available.

In Finland, approximately 1 in every 5,000 children aged 5-20 developed narcolepsy after receiving Pandemrix vaccine.  Less than one in a million unvaccinated children generally die from influenza.  (I have not seen any statistics on child flu deaths from Finland; only 44 people overall were said to die in Finland from 2009 Swine Flu… which is less than one in 100,000 Finns.)

Is the Finnish Health Department seriously suggesting it would use a vaccine in kids to prevent flu that will cause many times more cases of narcolepsy than it will prevent deaths from influenza?  Or are they minimizing the risk of the vaccine to protect themselves and the manufacturer?

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