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Swine flu shots linked to narcolepsy in Sweden

Swine flu shots linked to narcolepsy in Sweden

Published: 09 Feb 2011 07:37 GMT+01:00
Updated: 09 Feb 2011 07:37 GMT+01:00

Sweden reported 60 cases of narcolepsy after people were vaccinated with Pandemrix, manufactured by pharmaceutical giant GlaxoSmithKline. Many of the cases involved children.

Narcolepsy is a rare sleep disorder that causes a person to fall asleep suddenly and unexpectedly. According to the WHO, the rates reported in Sweden, Finland and Iceland were notably higher than those in other countries.

Since August 2010, at least 12 countries have reported cases of narcolepsy, particularly among children and adolescents, after receiving a swine flu, or H1N1, vaccine.

Studies are ongoing to determine if the apparent increased risk of narcolepsy reported in Sweden is higher in vaccinated persons, the WHO said in a statement on Tuesday.

According to Sweden's National Board of Health and Welfare (Socialstyrelsen), 31 million people have been vaccinated with Pandemrix in Europe. A Finnish study released last week found that the risk of children suffering from narcolepsy was nine times higher for those vaccinated with Pandemrix.

However, the WHO has not noticed an increased risk of narcolepsy in association with the use of any vaccines, both against influenza and other diseases in the past.

Sweden's health board has maintained close contact with the Medical Products Agency (Läkemedelsverket, MPA).

"We will closely follow the MPA's investigation and listen to their assessment. The Finnish study must be seen as part of a large investigation currently being conducted in Europe," Anders Tegnell, department head at the health board, said in a statement last week.

The board continues to recommend that groups at increased risk of serious illness receive regular influenza vaccinations, which protect against three types of influenza, including H1N1.

"Given the current situation, there is no reason to change our vaccination recommendations. Pandemrix is recommended based on an individual assessment by the attending doctor for reduced immune defence individuals who need greater protection, such as those who have recently received a transplant," said Tegnell.

Vivian Tse (vivian.tse@thelocal.se)

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Your comments about this article

15:52 February 8, 2011 by David S
the current headline of the article "Swine flu shots cause narcolepsy in Sweden" is completely false, doesn't reflect at all the article, and irresponsible scaremongering!

The Local needs to learn how to read
08:35 February 9, 2011 by Cakid
Agreed; it's cheap sensationalism. It's irresponsible writing and editting to allow such a headline.
08:46 February 9, 2011 by calebian22
It's called a hook, and it had the desired effect; you both read the article.
10:03 February 9, 2011 by YaYo
to be honest, i feel a bit like this article can't make up its mind. first it says that the risk of narcolepsy is higher in children who have been vaccinated and then it quotes people denying it.

it feels a bit like it is trying to say: There is a risk but don't you try and accuse GlaxoSmithKline of anything.
12:50 February 9, 2011 by David S
the headline is now less sensationalist but is still wrong. No such link has been shown in Sweden. A potential link was found in Finland.

The Local clearly believes water is deadly, since 100% of people who have died did so after having drunk water.

Learn some basic logic guys.
14:46 February 9, 2011 by rba
Water is very addictive.
23:15 February 9, 2011 by Da Goat
The vaccine is 100% useless anyhow, the addictive water is just as good a cure!

vaccines have their place but greed and scaremongering vaccines are to be resisted at all costs !

there are proper vaccines and vaccines used for financial purposes
21:07 May 30, 2011 by peeznluv
Very well written Da Goat! "Scaremongering" is in the eyes of the beholder...is it those who are such alarmist they belive in this pig-to-man flu so avidly they run to lines and push others out of way to get their child the swine flu shot---which was a concoction of chemcials including the neurotoxin Pandemrix...or is it those that believe the big pharma industry are profiteering from hyped up sensationalism? I tend to go with the latter. I live in the U.S. where this same thing is happening
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