Swine flu vaccine may be linked to three deaths

The deaths of three people, including a newborn baby, may be linked to use of the swine flu vaccine Pandemrix over the past two years.

Irish Medicines Board data on the top 10 medications for adverse reactions show the drug at the centre of the HSE’s nationwide inoculation programme may have had some role in the fatalities.

According to statistics from irishhealth.com, since Jan 2010 the IMB — the State’s independent medication watchdog — received reports from doctors that these drugs may be linked to 2,090 reactions, including 139 deaths.

Pandemrix accounted for 779 of these incidents.

The “adverse reactions” phrase is a catch-all term for any unexpected response to a medication, and ranges from minor short-term rashes to death.

The fatalities that may be linked to Pandemrix involved a newborn baby with serious health issues and two pneumonia sufferers over the age of 80 who received the inoculation.

The IMB said there may have been other underlying, non-drug related health issues involved, and that while the medication was likely to have had some role in the fatalities, it may not have been the direct cause.

However, there is growing evidence to suggest Pandemrix is linked in some cases to the development of narcolepsy in young people.

Among other cases over the two-year period were 543 adverse reactions and 58 deaths connected in some way to Clozapine, used as a schizophrenia treatment.

Other common medications on the list include the human papilloma virus vaccine, which is a key way to prevent cervical cancer; child immunisation vaccines; and medications for rheumatoid arthritis, kidney cancer, chemotherapy, and smoking cessation.


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