The family of a nursery nurse who killed herself after developing narcolepsy when she was given a swine flu vaccine have said she was ‘let down’ by the drug.
Kathryn Clack - known as Katie - was required to get the vaccine for her job – but it left her with the sleeping disorder and another condition that made her desperately unhappy.
An inquest was told the 23-year-old was seen on CCTV walking into the Queensgate Shopping Centre in Peterborough, taking the lift to the top floor, level 11, and then stepping off.
Miss Clack, who died from head injuries, had developed narcolepsy weeks after being given the Pandemrix vaccine for swine flu in December 2009, during the pandemic of that year.
Yesterday, (Aug 10) a coroner said the narcolepsy was caused by the vaccine.
Peter Todd and Freya Colvin of law firm Hodge Jones & Allen represented Katie’s family at the inquest.
They said: “Katie was an energetic young woman who had just discovered her passion working with children. Narcolepsy turned her life into a terrible daily struggle and drastically reduced her quality of life.
“We cannot believe she would have decided to take her own life had the balance of her mind not been disturbed.
“We feel she was let down by the defective vaccine which caused her narcolepsy.”
Freya Colvin added: “The Clack family has waited a long time for this inquest. It is important that the coroner has recognised the causal link between the vaccine and narcolepsy and the devastating impact this had on Katie’s short life.”
The inquest was told that at some points Miss Clack was even sleeping up to 19 hours a day and her mental health deteriorated.
She started suffering from clinical depression and psychosis.
Miss Clack was sectioned under the Mental Health Act at Peterborough City Hospital in April 2013.
During her four-week stay she was diagnosed with schizophrenia by consultant psychiatrist Dr Sepehr Hafizi.
The inquest was told Katie had previously attempted to take her own life after taking an overdose.
On another occasion, she had told her sister she was at the car park and was going to jump. Her sister talked her out of it on that occasion.
The 23-year-old was required to have the influenza vaccine on December 8, 2009, due to her employment as a nursery nurse.
Paul Cooper, senior coroner for South Lincolnshire, said: “She developed a rare chronic sleep disorder called narcolepsy which is characterised by excessive daytime sleepiness, hallucinations, sleep, paralysis and cataplexy.”
He said cataplexy meant Miss Clack, a former Deeping School pupil, could collapse on the floor at any time.
He added: “The three factors of the narcolepsy, cataplexy and psychotic episodes influencing her life over a short period of time had their impact, which led to her taking her own life by jumping from the Queensgate Centre on September 23, 2014 at a time when I deem she had capacity.”
Mr Cooper recorded a narrative conclusion.