Narcolepsy link to swine flu vaccine established - victims to get compensation
Victims of the surge in cases of narcolepsy after the vaccination campaign against the H1N1 or swine flu virus nearly two years ago will be entitled to compensation.
The compensation will be primarily the responsibility of the Finnish Pharmaceutical Insurance Pool. Decisions on compensation are to be made in the coming weeks.
“At the same time we will start making decisions on individual claims. Each claim will be handled separately”, says Pharmaceutical Insurance Pool spokesman Veikko Valkonen.
If the funds of the pool are insufficient, the remaining funds will be provided by the Finnish state.
A national narcolepsy working group issued its report on Thursday in which it stated that the link between the vaccines and children’s narcolepsy had been confirmed.
The report found that the Pandemrix swine flu vaccine gave a 13-fold increase in the risk of children and young people to come down with the disease.
Each of those who came down with narcolepsy after getting the Pandemrix vaccine were found to have an inherited trait that increased the risk of narcolepsy. Terhi Kilpi, the head of vaccines at the National Institute for Health and Welfare (THL), says that this should not reduce a victim’s chances of getting compensation.
“On the contrary, it should actually strengthen the overall grounds for compensation. The link of narcolepsy with a genetic risk reinforces the idea that this is a process that requires external irritants to the immune system. Genetic factors are not the only cause of narcolepsy.”
Up to 30 per cent of Finns have the genetic, but very few ever actually get the disease.
“When the disease unexpectedly increases so much, it is logical to think that the external factor in these cases was the vaccine”, Kilpi says.
Veikko Valkonen says that the compensation will cover treatment costs, rehabilitation, temporary problems, such as pain, travel costs, and lost earnings.
“Individuals who become permanently disabled and unable to work will be paid a lifelong compensation.”
Previously in HS International Edition:
Report confirms link between swine flu vaccine and narcolepsy (1.9.2011)
Hundreds of reports of harm from swine flu shots (14.3.2011)
H1N1 vaccinations suspended over narcolepsy scare (25.8.2010)
Finnish Pharmaceutical Insurance Pool