GPs must return flu vaccine over narcolepsy fears

Source: Independent

H1N1 VaccineThe Heath Service Executive (HSE) will remove all stocks of the swine flu vaccine Pandemrix from GPs’ surgeries, the Sunday Independent has learned.

The vaccine has been linked to the disabling sleep disorder, narcolepsy.

Last week, this newspaper revealed that eight people who received the swine flu vaccine in Ireland have developed the devastating disorder, with most of the cases involving teenagers and young adults.

Now, the HSE has taken the decision to visit GP surgeries around the country and collect the vaccine made by pharmaceutical giant GlaxoSmithKline.

All GPs who received consignments of Pandemrix have been contacted in a letter from Dr Kevin Kelleher, the agency’s assistant national director of Population Health and Health Protection.

In the directive, Dr Kelleher states: “I am sure you are aware of reports from Finland and more recently from Sweden regarding a possible association between the use of Pandemrix and the onset of narcolepsy in young people.

“In early January, I advised you that Pandemrix was only recommended if you had a shortage of seasonal flu vaccine.

“As additional stocks of seasonal flu vaccine were delivered to all sites that requested them from the end of January, there has been no requirement to use Pandemrix in any age group.

“Arrangements will be made over the coming weeks to collect stocks of Pandemrix from all general practice sites.”

Last week, a new Swedish study found an increased risk of developing narcolepsy among children vaccinated with Pandemrix.

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