Marc MacSharry and Clare Daly, two opposition TDs, have called on the Government to “do the right thing” and provide mediation or a redress scheme in relation the swine flu vaccine controversy where a number of those who received the vaccine suffered from serious side effects.
Mr MacSharry, a Sligo-based TD commented that the State’s dealings on this issue so far have been unacceptable and added that “the State Claims Agency (SCA) has spent over €2m rigorously defending discovery (of documents) in these cases alone”.
The Government’s inability to react to the controversy has been labelled as “extraordinary” following the release of significant international studies, including an Irish submission, which showed potential connections between Pandemrix and the sleep disorder narcolepsy.
The Government fully indemnified and approved the drug in 2009 to swiftly move it into service, the same as in many other European countries. The drug manufacturers GSK made this a precondition of producing it. The ramifications of this for the Irish taxpayer are that the State then became liable for any of the possible side effects from Pandemrix. So far the State has fully contested all compensation claims submitted in relation to the drug.
The High Court is currently hearing a major test case that could lead to another 100 further cases.
Mr McSharry TD has urged Taoiseach Leo Varadkar and Health Minister Simon Harris to quickly bring in a round of mediation talks to those who experienced the side effects of the drug.
Along with these calls the campaign organisation Sound (Sufferers of Unique Narcolepsy Disorder) said it is important that effective supports are provided to children and young adults dealing with narcolepsy due to the side effects of the drug.
Co-founder of Sound Tom Matthews said “Sound has always stated that it is not anti-vaccine, and that the Pandemrix scandal was a result of the State rushing to get whatever vaccine it could and that it was acting with the best intentions. We believe it is way past time for the State to finally step up on this issue and to fulfil the duty of care it is morally bound to provide to these children and young adults.”