Swine flu 2009 Narcolepsy Suicide and pharma drugs Pandemrix
Swine flu jab 'most likely' led to narcolepsy in nurse who killed herself – coroner
Katie Clack’s family say her mental health worsened with onset of narcolepsy after being required to get Pandemrix vaccine as part of her job
11 August 2016
A coroner has concluded it is “most likely” that a nursery nurse developed narcolepsy as a result of receiving a swine flu vaccination.
Katie Clack, 23, from Peterborough, became depressed after developing the sleep disorder in 2009 and jumped to her death from the top of a multistorey car park in the city in September 2014.
Her narcolepsy had led to her sleeping for up to 19 hours a day on occasion and her mental health worsened.
An inquest in Stamford heard that Clack 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 Miss Clack’s narcolepsy,” said Cooper.
He added that narcolepsy triggers depression, although he noted Clack’s case was “complex and very rare”.
Clack’s family was represented by Peter Todd and Freya Colvin, of law firm Hodge Jones & Allen. A statement issued on behalf of the 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.”
Colvin added: “The Clack family has waited a long time for this inquest. It is important that the coroner has recognised the causal link between the vaccine and narcolepsy and the devastating impact this had on Katie’s short life.”
Earlier this year, a boy who developed the sleeping disorder after getting the swine flu vaccine was awarded £120,000 in damages.
Josh Hadfield, 10, from Frome in Somerset, developed narcolepsy after receiving the Pandemrix vaccine six years ago.
In 2013, lawyers launched a class action on behalf of 38 Britons – including 19 children – who developed narcolepsy after having the vaccine.
Scientists from the former Health Protection Agency (HPA) said there was evidence of a link between the Pandemrix jab – manufactured by GlaxoSmithKline (GSK) – and narcolepsy in children.
HPA figures suggested that one in 55,000 children who were vaccinated – about 20 in the UK – were thought to have developed narcolepsy.
Josh was awarded the money after an appeal against the government, which had initially refused to pay as he was not “severely disabled” enough.
Speaking at the time, a spokesman for GlaxoSmithKline said: “We remain committed to carrying out additional research into the potential role of Pandemrix in the development of narcolepsy.” It was also supporting investigations into reported cases.
Across Europe, about 31 million people are thought to have received the Pandemrix jab. Narcolepsy is a rare but serious neurological disorder that affects about 31,000 people in Britain. The condition can cause disruption to sleep and daily life.