Not enough was known about the risks attached to the active ingredient in the swine flu vaccine linked to narcolepsy in young people before it was offered to patients, according to Professor Timo Vesikari of Tampere University’s Vaccine Research Centre.
Vesikari said that the active agents had been tested in the vaccination for H5N1, or bird flu, not H1N1, which is known as swine flu.
In response, Terhi Kilpi of the National Institute for Health and Welfare said that no clinical trials could have uncovered the link to narcolepsy.
The Pandemrix vaccination has been linked to 52 cases of narcolepsy in children and young people after they were given vaccinations against swine flu last winter.
The programme also heard from Satu Katra, whose 15 year-old daughter began to suffer from narcolepsy a month after receiving the vaccine.
“Sarah began to sleep a lot, and even started to fall asleep at school,” said Katra. “She started to get terrible nightmares and shouted in her sleep. I started to think that she might have started taking drugs.”
Katra was relieved when she finally found a reason for the symptoms, but is left with feelings of anger and bitterness towards the authorities.
“It would be good to know who is going to compensate us and how, or if the parents are expected to deal with it. We don’t have trust in officials anymore. My daughter won’t be getting a single vaccination in future.”