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As if the known dangers of flu shots and other vaccines weren’t enough to dissuade a rational person from being vaccinated, Swedish medical scientists have identified a previously unknown risk linked to a widely used vaccine.
Pandemrix is a flu vaccine formulated in 2009 that is supposed to help the body protect itself against H1N1, known as swine flu. But when Swedish clinicians tested the vaccination results for links to immune-related and neurological conditions, they found the vaccine multiplies the risk that a young adult will develop narcolepsy.
In an analysis of what is called a population-based prospective cohort study, the researchers sifted through data taken from Swedish regional vaccination registries and national health registries. The study included almost two-thirds of the entire Swedish population.
The researchers were surprised to uncover an increased risk of narcolepsy in vaccinated people who are younger than 20 years of age. They also found a trend towards an increased chance of narcolepsy in people 21 to 30 years of age.
“The follow-up of Pandemrix vaccinations in a large registry based study in Sweden confirms an increased risk of narcolepsy in children and adolescents, while also providing reassuring results for a large number of other neurological and immune related diseases,” says researcher Dr. I. Persson from the Karolinska Institutet, Stockholm.