A Limerick teenager who developed narcolepsy after receiving a flu jab is preparing to make a High Court claim for compensation against the state.
Kellie O’Gorman is among dozens of children who developed the sleep disorder after receiving the H1N1 swine flu vaccine in 2009.
The 17-year-old can’t leave her house on her own as she could suddenly fall asleep at any moment.
The teenager has narcolepsy and cataplexy, which she believes developed as a result of receiving a swine flu vaccine developed by GlaxoSmithKline in 2009 when she was an active 10-year-old camogie player.
Talking to Ireland Live News, she explained: “I just started having cataplexy attacks where I would just collapse onto the field and my knees would just buckle and I would lose control completely of my muscles.”
Kellie has developed depression as result of living with the incurable disease and admits to taking an overdose and ending up in hospital, as she felt “there’s no point anymore.”
Her mother, Jackie O’Gorman is worried about the affect the disorder has had on her childhood.
“SHE HASN’T HAD TEENAGE YEARS, SHE’S BEEN ASLEEP FOR MOST OF THEM.”
Augustus Cullen Law are preparing to represent more than 60 children and teenagers with narcolepsy in compensation claims against the state.
Michael Boylan from the firm said: “We are taking proceedings against the state on the basis that they failed to warn patients that this was an untested vaccine.
“This vaccine was rushed to market basically and it didn’t go through the usual pre-clinical and clinical trials that are the norm and essential for this type of vaccine.”
A spokesperson for GlaxoSmithKline says they are conducting their own research into the observed link between their vaccine and narcolepsy.
They say further research is required to confirm what role the vaccine may have played in the development of narcolepsy in those affected.
The state has indicated it will fight the claims coming before the court.
Kellie says that despite her condition, she is up for the fight.