November Date Set for Second Lead Action of Approximately 100 Swine Flu Vaccine Compensation

The High Court has revealed that the second lead action of about 100 cases in relation to swine flu vaccine that was created during the pandemic of 2009 and 2010 has been provisionally fixed for November.

15-year-old Benjamin Blackwell submitted a compensation claim against against the Minister for Health, the HSE and Glaxosmithkline Biologicals SA (GSK), manufacturer of Pandemrix in relation to the side effects he suffers from after being administered the vaccine in 2010 including narcolepsy, a sleep disorder, and cataplexy associated muscle weakness.

it is estimated that the hearing will last for at least 16 weeks. it is the second ever Pandemrix compensation case to come before the court. The legal action will be presented with evidence and testimony from a range of expert and other witnesses.

The original legal action related to compensation for suffering brought on by the Pandemrix vaccine, was pursued by 26-year-old Aoife Bennett. This action was settled in November 2019 after a five week hearing on confidential terms for an undisclosed sum and with no admission of liability. Ms Bennett’s legal representatives were seeking around €6m compensation in relation to Ms Bennett’s suffering.

Ms Bennett was administered with the Pandemrix vaccine in school in December 2009 as part of the State campaign to tackle the the swine flu pandemic. She claims that she suffers from narcolepsy and cataplexy due to the vaccine she was given.

A hearing date of November 3 2020 was set on Wednesday by Justice Michael McGrath for the Blackwell legal action. The judge agreed to fix that provisionally as the hearing date but stressed the hearing going ahead is contingent on the situation in November in relation to Covid-19 and on finding a venue large enough to host the personnel involved in the hearing.

In the Four Courts there is no room available big enough to house the people involved in line with the current Covid-19 guidelines. It is hoped that attempts to address this will bear fruit but, in the meantime an appropriate alternative venue will be sought.

The judge said an update will be provided in September.