The risk of narcolepsy was 13 times higher among those given the Pandemrix vaccine
The Health Service Executive has said a letter sent to families saying it will not reimburse medical expenses where legal action is taken over the use of flu vaccine Pandemrix was not authorised by the Director General.
A HSE spokesperson said the executive intends to set aside the letter.
He said DG Tony O’Brien first learned of the letter being issued on RTÉ News headlines.
The spokesperson said Mr O’Brien has given a direction that supports will not be withdrawn and any that have will be immediately reinstated.
The Director General said he would not countenance any discrimination, either perceived or real, against any person asserting their legal rights.
Mr O’Brien also apologised to anyone who had been caused distress by the letter.
The letter dated 20 November was sent by Greg Price, the Director of the HSE’s Advocacy Unit.
The correspondence, which was seen by RTÉ News, said the HSE had based its decision on the direction of the State Claims Agency.
It said the executive would no longer reimburse medical expenses where individuals sue the State.
Pandemrix was made by pharmaceutical firm GlaxoSmithKline and was fast-tracked for use due to the human swine flu crisis.
The State gave the makers of it an indemnity.
Following a vaccination programme in Ireland in 2009 and 2010, around 60 children were diagnosed with the narcolepsy sleeping disorder.
Until now, the State has provided those affected with discretionary medical cards and also covers the cost of scans and private consultant visits.
A report for the Department of Health, published last year, found that the risk of narcolepsy was 13 times higher among those given the vaccine, compared to unvaccinated individuals.