So far, around 150 children in Sweden have developed narcolepsy from the Pandemrix swine flu vaccine, but that number could rise, according to Tomas Norberg, chair of the Swedish Narcolepsy Association (Narkolepsiföreningen).
Norberg, whose 17-year-old son Simon suffers from narcolepsy, was one of several parents who co-authored an opinion article published on Sunday in the Svenska Dagbladet (SvD) newspaper arguing that children who developed the condition after being vaccinated for the swine flu ought to be compensated.
“We’ve learned that our children have received a life-long handicap and need to eat dependency inducing medications with awful side effects in order to get through the day,” Norberg and the other parents wrote, adding their children’s ability to get hired and hold down a job has also been compromised.
“Now it’s time for prime minister Fredrik Reinfeldt and the rest of the government to take responsibility. We demand that the state take full economic and medical responsibility for our children, now and in the future.”
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.
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.”