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Flu Jab Linked to Sleeping Disorder

Flu Jab Linked to Sleeping Disorder [Herald, the (Scotland)]

From Herald, The (Scotland) (July 22, 2011)

A FLU vaccine given to millions of Britons, including children, is not suitable for those aged under 20, according to European regulators.

Pandemrix should only be given to children and teenagers if other vaccines are unavailable and they still need protecting against the H1N1 strain of flu, the European Medicines Agency (EMA) said.

It follows an investigation into reports from Finland and Sweden of children and adolescents suffering from narcolepsy symptoms.

Narcolepsy is a rare sleep disorder which causes a person to suddenly and unexpectedly fall asleep.

The EMA said that the overall risk benefit of Pandemrix remains positive but studies had shown a six to 13-fold increased risk of narcolepsy in children and adolescents vaccinated with Pandemrix.

The EMA said "the vaccine is likely to have interacted with genetic or environmental factors which might raise the risk of narcolepsy, and other factors may have contributed to the results".

Made by GlaxoSmithKline (GSK), Pandemrix was the most widely used vaccine in the UK at the height of the 2009/10 flu pandemic.

A statement from GSK said: "GSK has committed to conduct further research into any potential association between Pandemrix and narcolepsy and will seek independent expert advice on this research activity, as agreed with the EMA."


Posted: July 2011