Narcolepsy has been in the news the past 10 days. Severe disabilities in 31 affected Irish children were reported; 70-100 Finnish children were reported with the disorder after receiving Pandemrix; 86 Norwegian claims have been made; now 170 Swedish children are affected, according to Sweden’s health minister. A Swedish study found the relative risk of narcolepsy to be 6.6 after receiving Pandemrix swine flu vaccine. (It is unclear if this was in all age groups or only children.) A year ago, WHO said cases were reported from 12 countries. But WHO advisors have not changed their position: they still recommend people get vaccinated anyway, saying the benefits outweigh the relatively small risk.
Families of children in Sweden suffering from narcolepsy caused by vaccination for the swine flu can expect some form of compensation, Swedish health minister Göran Hägglund said on Sunday.… According to Hägglund, the state will compensate those affected by narcolepsy caused by the swine flu vaccine.
“Yes, there will be some form of compensation for the roughly 170 children who’ve been affected,” the health minister told Sveriges Radio (SR).
However, Hägglund refused to specify how much the compensation might be or what form it might take.
“Our lawyers are looking into what’s the best way to shape the compensation. This is a terrible situation which no one anticipated.”
… Previously, the families were told they would receive a one-time compensation of 50,000 kronor ($7,340) and that their needs would be assesssed again when they turned 18.
When Sweden agreed to purchase the drug from GlaxoSmithKline, the contract stipulated that the company would be free of responsibility to cover costs associated with any side effects.
And in Norway:
Nordic medical experts highlighted a possible narcolepsy-Pandemrix link last year. Narcolepsy causes excessive sleepiness and frequent sleep attacks, sometimes without warning.
National Administrative body Norsk Patienskadeerstatning (NPE) now reports it has upheld damages claims regarding three children aged between 8 and 15 that they more than likely have developed the disorder because of the vaccine.
Assistant NPE director Rolf Gunnar Jørstad says each case is to be individually assessed. Compensation sums will vary according to symptoms’ scale, duration in years, as well as the degree they affect each child’s everyday life.
He tells NRK, “Unfortunately, there is reason to believe this is a disorder they may have to live on with. We’ll have to follow the individual child’s actual development, but could be talking about significant amounts of damages if the symptoms are lasting and comprehensive, at least a million kroner, or maybe more.”
Approximately 598,000 children and youths aged 6 months to 19 years out of roughly 2.2 million Norwegians were vaccinated with Pandemrix under the 2009-2010 mass vaccination programme.
The NPE has received 86 cases in total so far regarding various medical issues relating to the swine flu vaccine. Under a third have been processed. 7 complaints have been upheld and 18 have been rejected, most commonly because of no proven relation between the vaccine and problems.