By Hwaa Irfan
This is a warning to consumers who take as the truth the marketing campaigns of pharmaceutical companies that issue new drugs without thoroughly being tested as suitable for human use. The vaccine of concern here is the swine flu vaccine Pandemrix produced by GlaxoSmithKline. Pandemrix also known as Focetra, Panenza, Panvax, and Arepanrix was issued in 2009 – 2010 to 79 children in Finland who were ages 4 – 19. Soon after, 76 developed cataplexy, suffering from hallucinations partial paralysis, physical collapse before developing narcolepsy.
The National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke defines cataplexy as the sudden loss of muscle tone, which makes one feel weak, and lose control over voluntary muscular action. In general it is a primary symptom that can be mild, and barely noticeable, but can also result in complete loss of tone in the voluntary muscles.
Narcolepsy is a serious disorder of the central nervous system whereby the brain loses the ability to control the sleep-wake cycle. One can be overcome by a sudden need to sleep at anytime, anywhere. Cataplexy is a symptom of Narcolepsy involving sleep paralysis, and hallucinations during sleep, or on waking.
The Flu Vaccine
In this case, research responded sooner than much later to the plight of the victims. Finnish researchers found a direct link between the swine flu vaccine Pandemrix, and narcolepsy. The Finnish Pharmaceutical Insurance Pool that represents the insurance companies, said it would honor all insurance claims pertaining to narcolepsy, and the Finnish government declared that it would pay for a lifetime of medical care for the children concerned. The government also said it would cover any medical care that exceeds insurance claims that will measured according to the case.
In 2009, the German Medical Association only sent out a warning for children, and pregnant women. Pandemrix is not licensed in the U.S., but the European Medicines Agency (which licensed it in 2009) is carrying out a review of the drug which has been used by 30.8 million Europeans.
“CDC Statement on Discontinued Use of Pandemrix Influenza Vaccine in Europe.” http://www.cdc.gov/vaccinesafety/Concerns/h1n1_narcolepsy_pandemrix.html
“Finland Vows Care for Narcolepsy Kids Who Had Swine Flu Shot.” http://www.google.com/hostednews/afp/article/ALeqM5g1doyMOnXuq77VZHACz_rcbX99BA?docId=CNG.4b56b632b2812693ed69ed1191fc79dc.261
“What is Narcolepsy?” http://www.ninds.nih.gov/disorders/narcolepsy/detail_narcolepsy.htm