A 17-year-old who sued claiming he developed a rare sleep disorder after receiving a swine flu jab as a young child has settled a High Court action for €750,000.
The teenager, who cannot be named by order of the court, was four years of age when he received the Pandemrix vaccine in March 2010.
At issue in the case was the fact that the onset of symptoms allegedly occurred seven years after the vaccine jab. The boy’s counsel said narcolepsy symptoms can typically occur within six months to a year.
Bruce Antoniotti SC, for the teen, told the High Court that the child was probably one of the youngest to receive the vaccine.
Counsel said the boy did not suffer narcolepsy symptoms until seven years later when he suffered excessive tiredness.
Counsel said the narcolepsy was not diagnosed until 2019 and the boy also suffers from cataplexy, which involves loss of muscle control.
Mr Antoniotti said the teenager spends a lot of time at home. He found remote learning very difficult during the pandemic. He suffers from excessive daytime sleeping as well as nightmares.
Counsel told the judge the boy is afraid of travelling on his own in case he falls asleep and as a result does not leave home often.
The boy through his mother had sued the Minister for Health and the HSE. The settlement was reached after mediation.
Under the settlement, the boy will also be able to avail of extensive benefits, including educational supports, accommodation costs for third-level education, a “gold” medical card and childcare costs.
Approving the settlement, Mr Justice Paul Coffey noted there was a significant litigation risk in the case. The offer was fair and reasonable, he said.