A seven-year-old given narcolepsy by a swine flu jab has been refused compensation because he is not ill enough – despite sleeping for 19 HOURS a day.
Josh Hadfield developed the condition within three weeks of receiving the drug and now suffers “attacks” which can cause him to doze throughout the day.
He would fall asleep up to every five minutes – even when he was walking, eating and swimming – and suffered sudden seizures when he laughs.
Earlier this year the Government admitted that the Pandemrix jab could be to blame and his mother Caroline hoped she would get financial assistance to deal with his condition.
But Josh has now been told he does not have a “severe” enough disability to gain compensation.
Caroline, 42, slammed the decision as “disgusting” and said the condition had irreversible changed his life forever.
She said: “At the end of the day this vaccine has irreversibly changed his life forever and there’s nothing we can do about this.
“He has to take a very, very strong cocktail of drugs each day just to get through the day.”
Josh received the vaccine at his local GP surgery on January 21 2010 after Caroline was told he was “at risk” of the H1N1 virus because he was under five.
But Caroline, of Frome, Somerset, said that within weeks of the jab she noticed a drastic change in her son.
“He was a perfectly healthy energetic four-year-old before the vaccination, but within two weeks he was getting more tired and after three weeks he was sleeping for 19 hours.
“Things then developed quickly and he struggled to walk.
“Nothing could convince me it was anything but the jab which caused Josh’s conditions.
“The Government had a knee-jerk reaction to swine flu and put out this vaccine, giving it to very young children.”
Josh is now on medication to control the condition but they live in constant fear of narcolepsy attacks.
Caroline, a a civil servant, said: “Laughter can trigger attacks and sometimes he is too anxious to go out for fear of an incident.
“You see other children who can laugh and enjoy things and yes Josh can laugh and enjoy things but his reaction means that he goes unconscious.
“We feel we are constantly treading on eggshells.”
The vaccine was widely used in the UK during the 2009-2010 flu pandemic and given to almost one million children between the ages of six months and five-years-old.
However, after a number of trials across the EU, it is no longer in use when links between the drug and narcolepsy were found in youngsters from Finland, Sweden and Ireland.
Studies showed the jab increased the risk of narcolepsy tenfold.
Last month the Government made a dramatic U-turn over Josh’s condition, admitting that, “on the balance of probability the jab contributed to his condition”.
But they then added: “It has not been accepted that disablement from vaccination is severe, i.e. at least 60 per cent.”
Families could be entitled to #120,000 through the Vaccine Damage Payments Scheme if they can prove “severe” disability.
But Caroline said: “Basically to get compensation you need to have something along the lines of loss of eyesight, loss of hearing, loss of limbs or basically not being able to do anything at all which I think is absolutely disgusting.”
A spokesperson for the Department for Work and Pensions, which runs the Vaccine Damage Payments Scheme, said: “DWP has looked at some vaccine damage payments cases again in light of new information regarding swine flu and narcolepsy provided by the Department for Health.
“We cannot comment on the specifics of individual cases but can confirm that once this new information was taken into account it was decided, on balance of probability, in some cases that causation was proved.”
Caroline has now applied for legal aid to appeal against the decision.
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