William C. Douglass, Jr, MD
May 15, 2011
If kids are looking sleepier than ever, it’s not because some new TV show or videogame is keeping them up all night.
It’s just their way of thanking you for getting them the swine flu shot.
European health officials have issued a frightening new warning that comes far too late for far too many: A swine flu shot already distributed to more than 30 million people in 47 countries has been linked to narcolepsy in children.
That’s the rare sleep disease that can lead to serious daytime drowsiness and even cause victims to pass out without warning in the middle of normal activity.
Or maybe I should say the “once-rare” sleep disease, because it’s now on the rise: Doctors have reported at least 247 new cases of narcolepsy across Europe in kids who were given GlaxoSmithKline’s H1N1 vaccine, Pandemrix.
These were perfectly normal kids before… and now, they never know how much longer they’ll be awake.
EU officials want new doses of Pandemrix to carry a label warning of the narcolepsy risk — but that won’t matter since most parents never even see a shot’s packaging, much less get a chance to read the warning labels.
And who’s still getting swine flu shots anyway?
No, the damage is already done — and if your kid was affected, good luck trying to sue: Many governments indemnified vaccine makers as part of the rushed purchase agreements negotiated during the swine flu frenzy.
The bright side, for my American readers anyway, is that Pandemrix was never distributed here in the United States.
No, our shots have “only” been linked to conditions such as Guillain-Barré syndrome, a frightening disorder that can lead to paralysis or even death.
And around the world, people of all ages who got various swine flu shots passed out, got sick and some even dropped dead — all to prevent a virus that turned out to be a whole lot of nothing.
Next time, take your chances with the flu. It’s positively pleasant by comparison.
Your wake-up call,
William Campbell Douglass II, M.D.