A coroner has concluded it is “most likely” that a nursery nurse developed the sleep disorder narcolepsy as a result of receiving a swine flu vaccination.
Katie Clack, 23, became depressed after developing the condition in 2009 and jumped to her death from the top of a multi-storey carpark in Peterborough in September 2014.
Her narcolepsy had led to her sleeping for up to 19 hours per day on occasions and her mental health worsened. An inquest in Stamford heard that the Peterborough woman did not want the vaccine but was required to have it for her job.
Recording a narrative conclusion, Paul Cooper, acting senior coroner for South Lincolnshire, said studies showed there were “significantly raised odds of narcolepsy after [being given the] Pandemrix” vaccine in those aged 18 and above.
“On the available evidence on the association between vaccination with Pandemrix and onset of narcolepsy it seems most likely that receipt of this vaccine in December 2009 caused Ms Clack’s narcolepsy,” said Mr Cooper. He added that narcolepsy triggers depression, though he noted the case of Ms Clack was “complex and very rare”.
A statement issued on behalf of Ms Clack’s family said: “Katie was an energetic young woman who had just discovered her passion working with children. Narcolepsy turned her life into a terrible daily struggle and drastically reduced her quality of life. We cannot believe she would have decided to take her own life had the balance of her mind not been disturbed.”
In 2013, lawyers launched a class action on behalf of 38 British people — including 19 children — who developed narcolepsy after having the vaccine.
Scientists from the UK’s former Health Protection Agency say there is evidence of a link between the Pandemrix jab — made by GlaxoSmithKline — and narcolepsy in children. Across Europe, about 31m people are thought to have received the Pandemrix jab. Narcolepsy is a rare but serious neurological disorder which can cause massive disruption to sleep and daily life.
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