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Parents claim swine flu vaccine link to children's sleep disorder

By Western Daily Press  |  Posted: January 29, 2013

Caroline Hadfield in Frome, Somerset, with her seven-year-old son Josh, who contracted narcolepsy, a reaction to the swine flu vaccine

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Parents are preparing to sue the Government after their children took a swine flu vaccine and promptly started sleeping up to 19 hours a day.

The group of parents is considering legal action after the Health Protection Agency found a ten-fold increased risk of the sleeping disorder narcolepsy in children given the drug Pandemrix.

The vaccine widely used in the UK during the 2009-2010 flu pandemic and given to almost one million British children between the ages of six months and five years old.

One of the sufferers is Josh Hadfield, now aged seven, who lives in Somerset. He was diagnosed with narcolepsy and related muscle weakness after being given Pandemrix.

The vaccine is now no longer being used. It had previously been linked to narcolepsy in youngsters from Finland, Sweden and Ireland.

Josh’s life has changed dramatically as a result of his condition and his parents, Caroline and Charlie, from Frome, Somerset, are among a group of parents considering legal action against the Government.

The Department of Work and Pensions, which is responsible for administering Vaccine Damage Payments Scheme says there is currently insufficient medical evidence to show that the swine flu vaccine causes narcolepsy.

But a Health Protection Agency investigation estimates the risk was one in 52,000 in those vaccinated.

Josh was vaccinated in January 2010, when he was aged four. His mother said yesterday: “He was a perfectly healthy energetic four-year-old before the vaccination, but within two weeks he was getting more tired and after three weeks he was sleeping for 19 hours.

“Things then developed quickly and he struggled to walk.

“In one incident he fell unconscious at home. After months of tests at hospitals a sleeping consultant diagnosed his condition which is now kept under control with drugs. But laughter can trigger attacks and Josh was too anxious about fear of an incident to go sledging in last week’s snow. “We feel we are constantly treading on eggshells.”

The issue was highlighted in the BBC’s Inside Out West last night. Professor Adam Finn, from the University of Bristol, who was in charge of one of the paediatric clinical trials of Pandemrix, told the BBC: “The risk is so much increased that it seems very unlikely that this is a biased result.”

The European Medicines Agency (EMA) warned in 2011 that Pandemrix should only be given to people under the age of 20 if other jabs are unavailable because of concerns of potential link to narcolepsy. The pharmaceutical company GlaxoSmithKline, which produced the drug, was already carrying out studies in Canada where an equivalent vaccine was used and was required by the EMA to carry out more work.

The company says it takes the safety of patients very seriously and is working hard to better understand the research emerging from a select number of countries.

A spokesperson said: “Narcolepsy is a complex disease and its causes are not yet fully understood but it is generally considered to be associated with genetic and environmental factors, including infections.”

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  • ReCheck  |  March 28 2013, 1:17PM
  • SteveCA7  |  February 01 2013, 6:24PM

    GSK's Pandemrix flu vaccine has caused at least 795 cases of narcolepsy which is recognised and accepted by GSK. (see http://tinyurl.com/atpx9bn ). These are almost all adolescents with many in Sweden & Finland where it was given to schoolchildren in a national immunisation programme. Clinical trials were only done on healthy adults. Here in the UK the Government was convinced by the Department of Health to deliver a similar programme with HPV vaccine (GSK's Cervarix vaccine) in schools for adolescent girls. Again clinical trials were only done on healthy adults! The NHS's own website, NHS Choices, has a Medicine Guide for Cervarix which tells you of the safety concerns and rules but they don't follow any of them. The Medicine Guide is difficult to find unless you Google Medicine Guide Cervarix NHS Choices. If you search NHS Choices for HPV vaccine you get a totally benign page saying it is safe. Just take time to read the public comments from girls and parents and make an informed choice. Our daughter had the HPV vaccine at school and they called mum immediately to pick her up because she was so unwell. She was very cold, had constant headaches and tired, tired, tired. She slept as much as 23 hours every day for several weeks. The GP thought it was glandular fever but all tests were negative. She then went into a 13 week coma-like period where she never woke up. She was only semi-conscious when we spoon fed her liquidised food. She lost 4 stone in weight. Now the NHS were sure she had extreme-severe CFS/ME. She opened her eyes on December 16th 2011 with no memory of the 13 weeks. She couldn't talk until January 19th 2012. Slowly she starte dto recover but was then diagnosed as 'anorexic amongst her other problems. They have tried to have her assessed in a mental home for 3 - 6 months but we have resisted. She continued to sleep several times a day and they were definitely narcoleptic but they only focused on anorexia. She is now steadily improving very slowly and stopped the daytime sleeps completely last September. She is now just starting a slow rehabilitation programme in school having missed almost 2 years. In December 2012 we found out that we were being investigated for Fabricated & Induced Illness (the old Munchhausen's Syndrome by Proxy) and this had been going on since June 2012. Despite our appeals it is still ongoing. There are many, many families of vaccine damaged children that are put through this because the NHS denies that vaccines cause adverse reactions. It is criminal. Please let Josh's family know that they can contact us by email on steve@hinksfamily.co.uk

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  • jimfranko  |  January 30 2013, 11:33PM

    Thank you for covering this, there are many instances of children getting sick immediately or very shortly after taking vaccinations. This is the problem when you have a government totally sold out to financial interests, willing to give corporations that sell vaccinations for profit legal protection from litigation.

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