Fight for justice: 11-year-old in pain and needs 15 naps a day

The family of a youngster made chronically-ill by a government-approved vaccine for swine flu have been locked in a legal dispute for compensation to pay for his care.

Thursday, 16th March 2017, 7:00 am
Updated Friday, 24th March 2017, 10:51 am
Sam Forbes, 11, had the Pandemrix jab, pictured with mum, Di.

Sam Forbes was four when he had the Pandemrix jab - since proven to have caused narcolepsy and other neurological conditions which left him in constant pain and falling asleep 15 times a day.

Seven years later his mum Di Forbes, of Batley, is among dozens of parents waiting to be compensated after they were forced into a legal battle with the government.

Ms Forbes, 50, said: “Life after the vaccine is totally changed. Our son needs 24-7 care, including getting up several times during the night, he is in almost continuous pain, had severe headaches every day, he’s not able to go anywhere without careful planning, needs scheduled naps, has several specialist meetings every month, so misses school.

“Sam is scared for his future, we are frightened for his safety.”

The Pandemrix vaccine, made by GlaxoSmithKline, had been withdrawn after medics found a rise narcolepsy among youngsters who had the jab.

Sam is among dozens of children who could be due a payout after the high court rejected a government appeal to withhold compensation last month.

The court ruling means the government has to take into account the impact on a person’s entire life, not just their disability when claiming compensation.

Last Wednesday Batley and Spen MP Tracy Brabin secured a Westminster debate on Pandemrix compensation, then raised it at Prime Minister’s Questions.

She asked Theresa May: “In these rare but devastating cases the link between Pandemrix and narcolepsy has been proven and yet families like Di’s face long legal battles with government.

“Will the Prime Minister today promise that no more of these disabled children will be hounded through the courts, apologise to the families involved and oversee payments to support the children’s long term care needs?”

Ms May said every case was looked at on its own merits by the Department of Work and Pensions.

Earlier, health minister Nicola Blackwood said the government would not appeal against the Court of Appeal judgement.