A court ruling has paved the way for almost 100 UK victims of a trial vaccine to receive substantial compensation.
The Court of Appeal rejected a government bid to overturn a defeat in a lower court in 2015 that led to £120,000 being awarded to a boy damaged by the Pandemrix vaccine aged seven.
The child, now 14 and known only as John, developed narcolepsy after being given the vaccine during the 2009-10 swine flu pandemic.
The case, brought by London law firm Hodge Jones & Allen, is seen as test case that will trigger payments under the Vaccine Damage Payments Act to all 94 known victims.
It is also likely to lead to civil claims against Pandemrix manufacturer Glaxo-SmithKline.
The Government previously agreed to indemnify the drugs giant against claims at the time the vaccine was released for use on six million Britons, mainly the young and elderly or patients at risk of swine flu.
The link with narcolepsy was then unknown.
The Department for Work and Pensions had accepted the vaccine caused narcolepsy in John but denied his disabilities were bad enough to pass a 60 per cent threshold to trigger a payout.
Today’s ruling, from three appeal justices headed by Master of the Rolls Sir Terence Etherton, said the lower court was “quite right” to dismiss the Government’s previous attempt to overturn a ruling in favour of John.
Solicitor Peter Todd, who brought the case, told the Standard: “I am pleased the Secretary of State’s appeal has been rejected as his arguments would have made it virtually impossible for genuine cases to obtain any compensation.”
The DWP said: “We are aware of the judgment of the court and are carefully studying the court’s reasons.”