WHO investigates link between flu vaccine and narcolepsy

A seasonal flu vaccine suspected of causing a rare sleeping disorder amongst children and adolescents will not be withdrawn from the market, according to the World Health Organization.

Flu Vaccine

Flu Vaccine

12 countries have reported increased cases of narcolepsy among 4 to 19 year olds after being vaccinated against H1N1 flu virus with Pandemrix Vaccine.

The highest number of narcolepsy, a sleep disorder that causes a person to fall asleep suddenly and unexpectedly has been reported in Finland, Sweden and Iceland.

WHO spokesperson Alison Brunier says the link between the vaccine and narcolepsy is still under investigation, but for now the Pandemrix vaccine will remain part of the WHO prequalified and recommended flu vaccines for the 2010/11 season.

“The regulatory body that is responsible for licensing the vaccine, the European Medicines Agency, has also considered all the data available and does not feel that the risk outweighs the benefit of vaccinating. Countries are advised to immunize persons at risk of severe disease from H1N1 and using monovalent vaccines including Pandemrix if trivalent seasonal vaccines isn’t available.”

Pandemrix vaccine is manufactured by GlaxoSmithKline pharmaceutical company.

WHO says it recently donated 36 million doses of the vaccine to 18 countries worldwide including several African countries.

duration:  35″

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