A 12-year-old boy who is severely disabled because of narcolepsy triggered by the swine flu vaccine, pandemrix, has been awarded £120,000 by a court.
The ruling is expected to bring fresh compensation claims from as many as 100 other families of people affected by the sleeping disorder after receiving the vaccine.
The Mirror reports:
The ruling came after a three year legal battle which was launched after the Department of Work and Pensions decided the child’s condition was not serious enough to warrant compensation.
More than 100 more families are now expected to bring their own actions against the government, which has so far refused to give disability payments to people who developed narcolepsy after getting the Pandemrix jab.
Peter Todd, partner at the law firm Hodge Jones & Allen, represented the boy and his family, who have not been named.
“They felt quite insulted to have their condition basically dismissed as something quite trivial,” he said.
Todd is also representing a further 74 familes affected by vaccine-related narcolepsy, whose chances of winning compensation have been boosted by today’s decision.
The DWP gives a lump sum of £120,000 who are “severely disabled” after receiving a vaccine.
To get this “Vaccine Damage Payment”, a victim must be 60% disabled.
But officials did not regard narcolepsy as serious enough to warrant this pay out.
Antony O’Mahony’s 17-year-old daughter Ciara also developed narcolespy after receiving the vaccine in 2009.
He attacked the government for failing to recognise the severity of this devastating condition.
“To say that it’s not that impactful just makes me mad,” he told The Guardian . “Narcolepsy affects everything that Ciara does and always will do.”
The Pandemrix vaccine was given to some six million people during the the swine flu epidemic of 2009/2010.
Previous research found it caused narcolepsy in one out of 55,000 people.
Matt O’Neill, chairman of Narcolepsy UK, said it was “ridiculous to suggest narcolepsy was not severe”.
“The problem is that it is often a hidden condition, but there are so many things that people with narcolepsy can’t do that you would be able to do with a physical disability,” he said.
Narcolepsy is a “rare, long-term brain disorder that causes a person to suddenly fall asleep at inappropriate times,” according to the NHS.
It can cause people to spontaneously fall asleep in response to emotions such as “laughter or anger”.