The European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control reported last week that there was an increase in narcolepsy among children who received the swine flu vaccine Pandemrix during the 2009-2010 outbreak. The report corroborates similar findings from the Swedish Medical Products Agency nd The Finnish National Institute for Health and Welfare. Pandemrix was the only vaccine offered in European countries. It is a product of British pharmaceutical giant GlaxoSmithKline:
In Finland, 79 children aged four to 19 developed narcolepsy after receiving the Pandemrix vaccine in 2009 and 2010, while in Sweden the number was close to 200, according to figures in the two countries.
Both countries recommended their populations, of around five and 10 million respectively, to take part in mass vaccinations during the swine flu scare. Pandemrix was the only vaccine used in both countries.
Meanwhile, a recent study in the medical journal The Lancet said that between five and 17 people in Finland aged 0-17 are estimated to have died as a direct result of the 2009-10 swine flu pandemic, while the same number for Sweden was nine to 31.
Pandemrix was not used in the United States, and some American health organizations are not convinced that Pandemrix is the cause of the narcolepsy outbreaks, among the Stanford University School of Medicine. A study by Stanford proposes that the narcolepsy cases are associated with upper respiratory infections caused by the virus, and not the vaccine itself. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, there has been no such incidences associated with the swine flu vaccine used in the states.