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Pandemrix anti-swine flu vaccine ‘not used in Poland’

PR dla Zagranicy
Peter Gentle 22.01.2013 16:22
A professor at the Polish National Influenza Center says that Poland did not use the anti-swine flu vaccine Pandemrix in 2009, which could have caused an increase in the narcolepsy sleeping disorder.


The Reuters news agency reports that 14 year-old Emelie Olsson from Stockholm, Sweden, was given the Pandemrix H1N1 swine flu vaccine made by British drug company GlaxoSmithKline in 2009, during the pandemic which was sweeping across Europe at the time.

Emelie later developed narcolepsy, which brings on excessive sleepiness during the day and has given her breathing problems early morning.

The vaccine was given to more than 30 million people in 47 countries during the 2009-2010 H1N1 swine flu pandemic and 795 people across Europe have reported developing narcolepsy since the vaccine's use, Reuters reports.

But no cases of the suspected side effect have been reported in Poland because the Polish health minister at the time, Ewa Kapacz, refused to stock up on anti-swine flu vaccines, despite being pressured to do so by the EU and World Health Organisation (WHO).

"We do not have this problem in Poland because the anti-swine flu vaccine was not in general use in 2009," Lidia Brydak of the National Influenza Center has told the PAP news agency.

“The Ministry of Health decided not to purchase this product as it had not been sufficiently tested,” she added.

Peer-reviewed studies from Sweden, Finland and Ireland show the risk of developing narcolepsy after the 2009-2010 immunization campaign was between seven and 13 times higher for children who had Pandemrix than for unvaccinated kids.

GlaxoSmithKline’s chief medical officer at their vaccine branch, Norman Begg, has said the pharmaceutical giant is "absolutely committed to getting to the bottom of this", but adds there is not yet enough data or evidence to suggest a causal link between Pandemrix and narcolepsy. (pg)

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