Norwegian TV programme Puls
By Charlotte Myhrvold
Ill from Vaccine?
Invest in ME has been given permission to publish this story from the Norwegian TV programme Puls.
This story relates to the report linking ME with the vaccination of Norwegian children with the meningitis vaccine. Invest in ME have translated the article as it appeared on the Puls website.
Many patients could have become ill with myalgic encephalomyelitis (ME) due to vaccine trials performed 15 years ago. The Norwegian National Institute of Public Health tried out a vaccine against meningitis for school children.
From 1987 to 1991 the (Norwegian) National Institute of Public Health performed a vaccine trial on school children across the country. The objective was to try out a newly developed vaccine against infectious meningitis. Around 180,000 youngsters took part in the trial.
Now still more patients with ME - also called Chronic Fatigue Syndrome are fearing that they have become ill because of the vaccine. Many patients got the symptoms of ME shortly after they were vaccinated.
19 people so far
The (Norwegian) ME Association has, together with Professor Ola Didrik Saugstad, form the University of Oslo, tried to document how many ME patients had received the vaccine. Within a short time they had discovered 19 names. Saugstad has written many letters to the Norwegian Institute of Public Health and asked them to perform a follow-up on the youths who took part in the trials.
"If it shows that healthy youngsters have been given a serious illness
after a vaccine trial then it is a serious issue. It is also serious
that there has not been any proper and systematic follow-up of
the youths, and I expect the National Institute of Public Health to begin that"
Will not investigate
But the National Institute of Public Health has, up till now, not been willing to initiate a such a study. National Institute of Public Health Director, Geir Stene-Larsen, says that it will be difficult to get anything out of a post trial analysis after so many years after the vaccine was administered.
"It becomes a medical evaluation. If there is a strong basis then we must perform a study, but here we are talking about a single report where there is great uncertainty as to whether there is any link between the vaccination and the illness ME" he says.
A woman with ME who lives in Bergen took the National Institute of Public Health to court after she got ME following the vaccination. In 2003 she was paid almost 1.5 million kroner (£130,000) in compensation in a compromise with the state.
woman from Bergen is the only person in Norway who has had
a connection between her illness and the inoculation. But
the issue ended in a compromise and the associated papers
have not been published. The case has therefore gotten little
attention and no consequences for others with ME.
At the National Institute of Public Health they have no knowledge of the case. But director Geir Stene-Larsen wrote on Monday, on the National Institute of Public Health home page, that as soon as any more cases come to light then they will look more closely at the issue.