Insight: Evidence grows for narcolepsy link to GSK swine flu shot

Comments (18)
OrSpeeder wrote:

Jan 22, 2013 6:44am EST  --  Report as abuse
americanguy wrote:

I wonder how many people will actually get past the headline and see this does not affect the US, and they are still not sure what caused this?
About 40,000 people die in the US each year from the flu, 100 or so are children.
I had the flu about 5 years ago because I did not get the shots, I was sick as a dog. I will take my chances with the flu shots now.

Jan 22, 2013 7:28am EST  --  Report as abuse
THeRmoNukE wrote:

It’s a total joke. The other day the cleared pregnant women to take the flu shot. They think you’re an idiot!

Jan 22, 2013 9:19am EST  --  Report as abuse
Overcast451 wrote:

Wow, what a surprise….

I’ll keep with avoiding all but the most crucial vaccinations as I have been for years.


“I wonder how many people will actually get past the headline and see this does not affect the US, and they are still not sure what caused this?”

For now, in this instance and from what has been told to the public – doesn’t mean what the US uses is safe. Nothing wrong with avoiding medications you DON’T ACTUALLY NEED.

I haven’t have the flu or a flu shot in 10 years.

This is why so many strains are ‘resistant’ now and so many people have weak immune systems.

Jan 22, 2013 1:09pm EST  --  Report as abuse
btreusdell wrote:

This article is irresponsible and premature. It lists sources who are already sure of an outcome before the study is released and providing a victim, as terrible as this is for her, who’s disease may not have even been the result of what they purport it is. I think it’s dangerous fear-mongering. What we need is patience. As with all scientific investigation, it takes thorough, reproducible, peer reviewed study to determine actual, measurable effects. The only thing this article indicates is a correlation between the incident of narcolepsy and the flu vaccine and not, as they were careful to admit amidst the tear jerking, a causal one. Any number of factors could be involved in a incidence rate of 1%, meaning less than a 1% increase over normal.

Be cautious. Be careful in how the data is interpreted. Be skeptical of claims made by people who have an opinion formed before the research is out, whether they have degrees or not. And don’t give the Jenny McCarthys out there more fodder.

Jan 22, 2013 2:32pm EST  --  Report as abuse
ucsddeej wrote:

Um, vaccines have nothing to do with why so many “strains are resistant” – completely different topic. Also, vaccines make your immune system stronger. People have weak immune systems because of genetics, helicopter parents that won’t allow their kids to play in the dirt or be touched by people without a healthy dose of Purell, and/or toxins and chemicals in their local communities.

Vaccines have, and will continue to, save many more lives than any of these side-effects. Constant fear mongering and ignorance over vaccines have done nothing but start to erode our herd immunity – even to the point of no longer conferring protection in those that need it most.

I agree with avoiding medications you don’t need, but saying that the risk/benefit for a flu vaccine in the elderly or pregnant population doesn’t swing towards using vaccines is just silly. Like americanguy wrote, the flu is a devastating illness, especially in high-risk populations. And the risk/benefit for the population for Hepatitis, MMR, Diptheria, Tetanus, pertussis, meningococcal (especially in dorm rooms) is so far towards benefit it isn’t even funny. I hope for everyone’s sake that you define these as “crucial”.

That being said – narcolepsy is an awful condition and I hope anything we learn from this can be used to limit these side effects in the future. Keep in mind too that correlation does not equal causation, and the jury is still out on this – a recent French study did not find any safety signals from 4.1 million doses of Pandemrix – including no reports of narcolepsy.

Jan 22, 2013 3:51pm EST  --  Report as abuse
Charcus wrote:

Obviously you are not up to date with your vaccine current events. You make mention to Dr. Wakefield and his fraulent claims about the link between vaccines and autism. However, you neglected to mention that the United States Federal Vaccine Court just awarded two multi-million dollar settlements stated stating that there is a direct correlation between vaccines and a wide spectrum of learning disabilties. Dr. Wakefield is also now in a lawsuit to have his studies and papers on the matter reinstated. Perhaps someday you will stop being a shill for the big pharma industry and do some actual reporting. I had high hopes for this article but you sold out.

Jan 22, 2013 5:18pm EST  --  Report as abuse
gregbrew56 wrote:

Seriously Carcus? Try doing some research on other than anti-vax sites. Check out Science Based Medicine dot org (no spaces). There is an article entitled “An Anti-Vaccine Tale of Two Lawsuits”. It’s highly illuminating, and clearly shows that Wakefield is STILL considered a fraud and a shill for the plaintiff in an anti-vaccine lawsuit that prompted his “study” linking autism to vaccines. He continues to be discredited, and his research considered totally bogus.

Stop trying to find a link that doesn’t exist.

Jenny McCarthy is a celebrity, not a scientist.

Jan 22, 2013 7:23pm EST  --  Report as abuse
OregonCharlie wrote:

Post hoc ergo propter hoc? How strong is the cause-effect? Give us some probability numbers. It will be the etiology, strength, scope and amplitude of the phenomena that determines the significance of the threat. We need to be very careful when interpreting & reporting this kind of research to provide the context necessary for accurate weighting of the information.

Jan 22, 2013 11:27pm EST  --  Report as abuse
gord5467 wrote:

“Canadian Forces links severe adverse reaction to H1N1 flu vaccine, arranges access to a Alberta Health Services neurologist within 1 week and paid for multiple tests at private clinics ”

In 2009 I received the H1N1 shot (AREPANRIX by GSK GlaxoSmithKline) and had a severe adverse reaction to the vaccine. The CF advised “I confirm that you did receive the H1N1 vaccine on 18 Nov 2009 and as a results suffered an adverse reaction comprised of multiple complex symptoms (neurological, cardiac, respiratory, and gastrointestinal)” which include: dizziness, vertigo, irregular heart rhythms, shortness of breath, muscle weakness and pain, and numbness in hands and feet. The Department of National Defence (DND) paid for immediate access to private clinics such as Medical Imaging Consultants to expedite testing which included Chest X rays (requested 8 Dec 2009, performed 9 Dec 2009), Fluoro scan (performed 26 Jan 2010), Chest Xray (performed 27 Jan 2010), MRI (requested 3 Mar 2010, performed 5 Mar 2010), a referral to a Neurologist at the University of Alberta Hospital (requested 16 Mar 2010, performed 22 Mar 2010), Spinal Tap (requested 16 Mar 2010, performed 13 Apr 2010). My physical fitness changed from marathon fit to that of a 70 year old in a matter of days. In 2012 the Canadian Forces advised “it is our opinion that your adverse reaction to the H1N1 vaccine, resulting in a syndrome of complex symptoms, is service related”. It’s unfortunate the military forced me to release from the CF in 2011 and suffer three years of severe symptoms before they admitted the cause was the vaccine.

Jan 23, 2013 12:25am EST  --  Report as abuse
Kate888 wrote:

If Kate Kelland reads this comment, perhaps you could share this information with those she interviewed who were suffering narcolepsy.
I am a licensed, practicing acupuncturist. Somnolence can be treated by reducing the KD 6 points bilaterally while also reinforcing bilaterally the BL 62 points.Some add to this treatment bilateral BL 1. Perhaps this “extraordinary meridian treatment” would be useful with narcolepsy.
These are some other acupuncture points used for somnolence:Du 20, SJ 10, LI 2 or 3, ST 45, BL 18….depending on the individual person.
Please give this information to those suffering from narcolepsy and encourage them to contact a licensed professional trained in acupunture.

Jan 23, 2013 1:01am EST  --  Report as abuse
blahhh666 wrote:

And how many kids’ nervous systems were destroyed in not so outright ways?

Jan 23, 2013 2:05pm EST  --  Report as abuse

If you do decide to shoot mystery juice from a mega coporation into you blood, get the thermasol free variety.

Jan 23, 2013 3:02pm EST  --  Report as abuse
btreusdell wrote:


The Federal Vaccine Court pays out everytime someone sneezes. But aside from that, legal outcomes have nothing to do with the science at issue. And to say something inflammatory: Kate888, how much did it cost for that acupuncture diploma and how long did it take to come in the mail? The scientific community has recognized the effects of acupuncture and they’re no better than noise. You can’t use that as an argument.

Jan 23, 2013 3:23pm EST  --  Report as abuse
NoodlesNR wrote:

These aren’t even tested on humans. Thanks, I’ll let everyone else be guinea pigs before I’ll consider it. And the people who die from the flu– it’s not even the full story. It doesn’t add that often times they are people who have suppressed immune systems, or ignorant parents who didn’t get proper treatment etc. And most of all, you don’t know that they DID get flu shots and died anyways, since it doesn’t cover all varieties.

Jan 23, 2013 4:46pm EST  --  Report as abuse
Caitin wrote:

I received the Swine Flu jab and 3 months later I started having the symptons of Narcolepsy. That was 3 years ago. Now I cannot work, drive, go out on my own, and do countless other normal activities because of Narcolepsy.
There is no doubt in my mind it was the jab that caused it.

Jan 23, 2013 9:20pm EST  --  Report as abuse
tkharris wrote:

Interesting piece, but the author simply states as fact that the risk-benefit balance is unacceptable. That is not exactly reporting, it’s an opinion, and even were all the facts known, it would still be an opinion, and doesn’t belong in a health news article.

Even if it were a known fact that this vaccine increases your chance of getting narcolepsy by a factor of 10 while only reducing your risk of death from the flu by a half, I’m pretty sure that I would find that acceptable. Narcolepsy is a terrible condition to have, but the symptoms are generally (but not always) well managed with the proper drugs. Maybe there will even be a cure for it some day. No cure for you is possible if you’ve died from the flu!

I also wish that the article was a little more clear about the possible risks and why they are related to the vaccine. There’s nothing in there about how the peculiar immune responses in narcoleptics is implicated in the narcolepsy syndrome (which can be triggered by a vaccine or by the infection itself). In other words, there is evidence that someone who gets narcolepsy from a vaccine is likely to get it anyway from some future infection.

Jan 24, 2013 1:53pm EST  --  Report as abuse
Narvik wrote:

Another Example of “A Rush to Profit” without regard of its human consequences!
Excerpt: “Pandemrix was authorized by European drug regulators using a so-called “mock-up procedure” that allows a vaccine to be authorized ahead of a possible [lab-generated] pandemic using another flu strain. In Pandemrix’s case, the substitute was H5N1 bird flu.”
In case it hasn’t been noticed, the days of “Self-Regulating” and “Self-Policing” on the Assumption that Safety Regulations and Ethical Behavior will be adhered to and maintained by any individual or Company, have been long gone! Gone, because it has long been replaced by GREED! When it comes to a choice between Ethical Behavior and “Profits”, “Profits” will win every time!

Jan 26, 2013 12:37pm EST  --  Report as abuse
This discussion is now closed. We welcome comments on our articles for a limited period after their publication.