WHO: Flu shot May be Linked to Narcolepsy
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09 February 2011
The World Health Organisation urged more investigation into possible links between Glaxo-SmithKline’s Pandemrix and other H1N1 flu vaccines and narcolepsy, a rare sleeping disorder. The WHO advisory panel statement on Tuesday came after a Finnish study last week suggested children given the GSK shot were nine times more likely to suffer from narcolepsy, which causes a person to fall asleep suddenly and unexpectedly.
WHO spokeswoman Alison Brunier said that Pandemrix remains on the WHO’s list of prequalified vaccines, and there would be no changes to WHO recommendations on any flu vaccines as a result of the Finnish study. "Further investigation is warranted concerning narcolepsy and vaccination not only with Pandemrix, but also with other pandemic H1N1 vaccines," Brunier said.
A spokesman for the British drugmaker said it was itself looking into reports of links between narcolepsy and Pandemrix. Pandemrix was designed to tackle the H1N1 pandemic flu which spread around the world in 2009 and 2010.