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UK government pays out lb60m damages for swine flu vaccine

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The UK government is paying out around lb1 million to each of 60 parents whose children have been permanently damaged by the swine flu vaccine. Most of the children suffer from narcolepsy, or sleeping sickness.

The lb60 million pay-out is expected to be only the first of several as more parents come forward. It’s reckoned that the vaccine, Pandemrix, causes narcolepsy and catalepsy, or muscle weakness, in one out of 16,000 people vaccinated.

Around 800 children across Europe have so far been diagnosed with one of the adverse reactions after vaccination, but as more than 60 million children were given Pandemrix, the number of cases could rise to 3,750.

Governments have to pay damages because the manufacturer, GlaxoSmithKline, refused to supply the vaccine until it was indemnified against any claims. Although GSK will make the payment, it will claim the money back from government.

The European Medicines Agency issued a warning in 2011 against using the vaccine on those under the age of 20, while a separate study estimated the vaccine heightened the risk of narcolepsy 13 times.

Despite this, GSK has refused to accept that any link exists.

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