By JEROME REILLY EXCLUSIVE
EIGHT Irish people who received the swine-flu vaccine have developed narcolepsy — the potentially devastating ailment that causes sudden daytime sleep attacks, the Sunday Independent has learnt.
It means that the number of suspected cases of the debilitating sleeping disorder linked with one particular swine-flu vaccine in Ireland has doubled since the beginning of the month.
The Irish Medicines Board (IMB) said: “The IMB has received a large number of suspected adverse-reaction reports and queries in association with the pandemic-influenza vaccines since October 2009, the vast majority of which were consistent with the expected pattern of adverse events for the vaccines.
“Eight reports of narcolepsy-type sleep disorders have been notified in relation to Pandemrix, most of which have been very recently received and are currently being followed up for additional information.”
Last August, the vaccination of children and adolescents in Finland with Pandemrix was suspended until a link to narcolepsy had either been ruled out or detected.
The Finnish National Institute for Health and Welfare described the move as a precautionary measure.
Among the eight people in Ireland who have developed narcolepsy sleep disorders is a 10-year-girl from Co Meath who is now on medication to stop her suddenly falling asleep while she is at school.