79 People in Norway Lose Ability of
Taste and Smell After Swine Flu Vaccine
79 have lost their ability to taste or smell after taking the
H1N1 swine flu vaccine in Norway.
Silje Marie Vatvik lost both taste and smell after taking the
vaccine against swine flu. She has been sick for several weeks.
"People do not understand what it means to have taste and
odor. I do not taste the food and can therefore do not want to
swallow it. It inhibits me socially because I can attend dinner
functions, " says Silje Marie Vatvik.
The 30-year-old who lives in Longyearbyen, was one of the first
to receive the vaccine against swine flu. She worked in the department
responsible for preparedness initiatives at the airport and was
expected by her employer to be vaccined the same day first vaccines
arrived on October 21.
"Had I not been expected to take the vaccine, I would have
at least had the option, and the first thing I asked about were
the side effects,", said Vatvik.
Vatvik was not prepared for was to come after the vaccination,
losing both her ability to taste and smell. She has not recovered
these senses since taking the vaccine. The hospital administered
many tests but the 30-year old has not responded to any of them.
"They kept all options open since it could have been a coincidence
and nothing to do with the vaccine. But it was ultimately the
one cause that remained," she says.
Vatvik is on sick leave indefinitely due to the illness. "I
think about food all the time, have little energy and I'm irritable
because I have low blood sugar," she says.
"There has been much talk about the vaccine not being tested,
but it has been accepted in other countries before Norway. I know
that foreign websites have been written about the loss of smell
and taste associated with the vaccine, so it is strange that they
were not more informed about it," said Vatvik.
When she went to the hospital, no one had heard of any similar
cases. Now 79 people are suffering the same side effects notes
the Norwegian Medicines Agency. They have no explanation for why
some have lost their taste and smell after flu vaccine.
"It was unknown to us in advance that the loss of taste and
sense of smell could be a side effect," said a spokesman
from the Norwegian Medicines Agency, Steinar Madsen.
Madsen could not address why some patients suffer from the side
effect. "We have no explanation for why it happens. We can
not say for sure whether it has a relationship with the vaccine.
There are other explanations, like that you get a viral infection
while taking the vaccine," says Madsen.
When asked how long the patients it will take patients to recover,
Madsen said, "I can not answer. I have talked to one patient
who told me that she was well again after a couple of weeks."
Reference Source: svalbardposten.no
December 15, 2009