Watchdog probes flu jab link to narcolepsy
THE country's medicines' watchdog is following up on 13 reports of an incurable sleeping disorder in people who received the swine flu vaccine, it was confirmed yesterday.
It follows a European report that showed up to seven in every 100,000 adolescents given the swine flu jab were likely to develop narcolepsy.
However, the Irish Medicines Board (IMB) said, while it was evaluating reported cases here, the risk had so far just been proven in Sweden and Finland.
It was commenting after the European Medicines Agency reviewed the suspected link between the Pandemrix jab and narcolepsy, a serious disorder which causes sufferers to suddenly fall asleep without warning throughout the day.
An IMB spokeswoman said it recommended that parents or anyone who had any concerns should first contact their GP.
The jab was given to 900,000 people here during the swine flu pandemic.
The Health Service Executive (HSE) said yesterday: "We are also in contact with the families of the reported cases of narcolepsy and are seeking to put the appropriate services in place for them, as required.
"We are conducting our own study of all cases of narcolepsy in Ireland over the time period. The HSE is co-operating fully with the Irish Medicines Board and the European Medicines Agency, which is responsible for medicine safety across Europe," a spokesman said.