Preliminary results from a study by Finland’s National Institute for Health and Welfare (THL) show that children injected with Pandemrix swine flu vaccine were nine times more likely to get narcolepsy than those without the vaccine. Narcolepsy is a sleep disorder which causes extreme fatigue in the day and may result in the patient falling sleep suddenly.
THL suggests that the explanation for the increasing number of Swine-flu vaccinated children contracting narcolepsy in Sweden and Finland is due to a joint effect of the vaccine and some other factor(s). Finland initiated an aggressive programme against H1N1 in 2009 but was discontinued last August when a sharp rise in narcolepsy cases among children was noted in that time period. New cases of child narcolepsy in Finland rose from seven in 2007 to sixteen in 2008 to 60 during the swine flu epidemic between 2009 and 2010. Ninety percent of the last cases occurred in youth (4-19 years of age) who had had the Pandemrix vaccine.
Finland and Sweden have had the most cases correlating these two conditions. In Iceland, narcolepsy cases among the youth also increased noticeably in the time of the swine flu epidemic but the cases weren’t restricted to those vaccinated against H1N1. According to GlaxoSmithKline, which produces Pandemrix, of the 162 cases of narcolepsy reported in vaccinated individual, 70% of them were in Finland and Sweden.
The European Medicines Agency has also started to investigate the HI1N1-vaccine-narcolepsy connection. THI’s final report is expected to be published at the end of August of this year.