'It’s just a mess' - father of teenager who suffers narcolepsy after swine flu vaccine says State has 'totally mismanaged' response

The State has “totally mismanaged” the issue of children who claim to suffer from narcolepsy after being vaccinated for swine flu, according to the father of one such patient.

Tadhg Kennedy, father of 16-year-old Jack, told RTÉ radio’s Morning Ireland that his son was vaccinated, along with his siblings, on the same day as Aoife Bennett who settled a case with the State yesterday.

Ms Bennett and the Kennedy children were administered with the Pandemrix vaccine in school in December 2009, as part of the State campaign against the swine flu pandemic.

Mr Kennedy said his son has to take regular naps, suffers from hallucinations and is now “a heavily medicated young man. That’s the rest of his life,” adding that the response of the State was “totally mismanaged when adverse effects were reported.”

According to Mr Kennedy, the State had “reluctantly and grudgingly” given any supports to those who suffered adverse effects.

It’s just a mess, it was totally mismanaged. Somebody has to stand up and fix it.

Mr Kennedy pointed out that the State has spent millions “aggressively fighting” cases like that of Ms Bennett and his son (whose case is pending). “It’s just bonkers.”

The drugs company had settled similar cases in other countries, he said, before asking why the case was being contested so aggressively in Ireland, especially when it was obvious that “something has gone wrong and people are suffering this trauma.”

He said he understood the need for vaccination and the concept of herd immunity, but when something goes wrong, “it is up to the State to take care of it.”

Aoife Bennett.
Aoife Bennett.

Mr Kennedy also queried why a no-fault compensation scheme for people who suffer injury arising from vaccination has not yet been implemented despite a scheme being recommended by an Oireachtas committee as far back as 2001.

Even if such a scheme were to be introduced now, “it’s too late for us,” he said.

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