The long and short of is that a vaccine for H1N1 that was approved in much of western Europe, but not the US has been tied to narcolepsy.
Out of 30 million people that recieved the vaccine about 800 have gotten narcolepsy.
"Emelie is one of around 800 children in Sweden and elsewhere in Europe who developed narcolepsy, an incurable sleep disorder, after being immunized with the Pandemrix H1N1 swine flu vaccine made by British drugmaker GlaxoSmithKline in 2009."
Now, there would have been some narcolepsy rate w/o the vaccine so it probably isn't safe to say that all 800 are from the vaccine.
But its pretty clear the vaccine increased risk:
"Independent teams of scientists have published peer-reviewed studies from Sweden, Finland and Ireland showing the risk of developing narcolepsy after the 2009-2010 immunization campaign was between seven and 13 times higher for children who had Pandemrix than for their unvaccinated peers."
Now, I'm sure that some people are going to jump on this an claim that this shows that vaccines aren't safe, and clearly, I think it shows that some vaccines for some people aren't safe.
But I think also it shows how in the case of what is a pretty rare (800 out of 30 million), but serious side affect the medical and public health communities respond.
"In his glass-topped office building overlooking the Maria Magdalena church in Stockholm, Goran Stiernstedt, a doctor turned public health official, has spent many difficult hours going over what happened in his country during the swine flu pandemic, wondering if things should have been different.
"The big question is was it worth it? And retrospectively I have to say it was not," he told Reuters in an interview."
"The World Health Organisation (WHO) says the 2009-2010 pandemic killed 18,500 people, although a study last year said that total might be up to 15 times higher.
While estimates vary, Stiernstedt says Sweden's mass vaccination saved between 30 and 60 people from swine flu death. Yet since the pandemic ended, more than 200 cases of narcolepsy have been reported in Sweden.
With hindsight, this risk-benefit balance is unacceptable. "This is a medical tragedy," he said. "Hundreds of young people have had their lives almost destroyed.""
There's been no cover up. GSK has been prettys slow to admit any fault, but from the public side there hasn't been a whole lot of punches pulled.
The story goes onto describe the problems with protecting publich health in cases of a possible panademic vs. the risk of vaccines and how you balance that.