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Swine Flu vaccination

A pregnant teen who died in October 2009 from Swine Flu became the 106 confirmed death from H1N1, or Swine Flu, in Britain.

Several days later, Britain’s Chief Medical Officer, Sir Liam Donaldson announced that “at risk” patients, such as pregnant women, would begin receiving the then new Swine Flu vaccination on October 26, 2009.

Authorities estimate that by the end of 2009, over 370,000 persons had contracted Swine Flu in Britain. By the time 2010 started, 83 people had died in England along with 15 in Scotland, 4 in Wales and 4 in Northern Ireland.

While making the announcement, Sir Liam said, “I know they (pregnant women) want to reduce risks to themselves and their unborn babies. I do not want to see expecting women dying from a preventable condition.”

The World Health Organization added its support to the use of Pandemrix, a Swine Flu vaccine developed by Glasco Smith Kline. In a press release, a spokesman for the WHO said, “The World Health Organization recommends the use of vaccines as prescribed by functional regulatory authorities.”

What seemed to hold promise in the early days proved that every silver lining was hiding a cloud.

By August 2010, the Swine Flu outbreak was considered to be in the “post-pandemic” period as the number of cases declined rapidly.

According to Medical News Today, numbers from the WHO marked the number of deaths resulting from the outbreak at less than 200,00.

While the worst seemed to be over, reports of narcolepsy, among those vaccinated, started to emerge.

Narcolepsy, a disabling neurological disorder that affects the control of sleep, is indicated by symptoms most commonly including excessive daytime sleepiness, sleep paralysis and hypnagogic hallucinations.

Interestingly, almost all, cases happened in Europe and Asia while the US remained unaffected.

Why has America remained untouched? The answer can be found in the actual vaccines used on the two continents.

The most widely-used vaccine was Pandemrix. In pandemic situations, like the swine flu outbreak, vaccines have to be developed as quickly as possible.

Because of this, Emergency Use Authorizations were issued by different drug regulatory bodies, allowing Pandemrix to be used in 47 different countries.

Although Pandemrix was used widely in Europe, and elsewhere, it was never approved for use in America.

Further studies have indicated that narcolepsy was a rare side effect of Pandemrix vaccines with roughly 1 in 16,000 patients enduring the disorder.

During the 2009 pandemic, while 31 million doses of Pandemrix were given only 904 cases of narcolepsy were reported.

Researchers feel that the numbers worked out to be an acceptable risk. It is estimated that there were over a quarter-million deaths due to the Swine Flu pandemic.