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Don’t take tetanus jab, church insists

Thursday November 6 2014

A nurse administers a tetanus vaccine at the Gatimbi Health Centre on October 15, 2014. FILE PHOTO | PHOEBE OKALL

A nurse administers a tetanus vaccine at the Gatimbi Health Centre on October 15, 2014. FILE PHOTO | PHOEBE OKALL | NATION MEDIA GROUP

JAMES KARIUKI
By JAMES KARIUKI
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The Catholic Church is now asking Kenyan women not to take the tetanus vaccination championed by the government.

The church has maintained that the jab, targeting women between the ages of 19 and 49 is a secret government plan to sterilise them to control population growth.

In a communiqué after a meeting at St Mary’s Pastoral Centre, Nakuru, on Thursday, Catholic bishops accused the government of dishonesty and urged Kenyans not to accept the jab.

Nairobi archbishop John Cardinal Njue said: “The vaccination has been laced with anti-fertility hormones. Laboratory tests locally and abroad have shown the campaign is meant to control birth,” they said.

ACCUSED OF DISHONESTY

But in a swift rejoinder, the Ministry of Health’s head of immunisation, Dr Collins Tabu, accused the Catholic Church of dishonesty.

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“The church is playing games with this issue. We need facts and not agitation against the tetanus toxoid vaccination campaign,” said Dr Tabu.

“Results of tests carried on the vaccine samples at the ministry show the vaccine has no traces of the family planning hormone Beta-HCG as claimed by the church,” Dr Tabu told the Nation.

On Thursday, the church said it had shared with government officials results of laboratory tests proving its claims.

However, Dr Tabu dismissed the church saying: “The results the church is referring to have never been shared with the Ministry of Health.”

Dr Tabu claimed information on the samples the church says it tested was fake and only used to mislead the church’s leadership.

“Why has the church taken over a year to question the safety of the vaccine yet it never raised queries with either the ministry or regulatory bodies?” he asked.

The bishops accused the government of lying to the parliamentary Health committee that the vaccine was safe.

“They presented a clean report claiming the vaccine is good for Kenya. We are shocked with the level of dishonesty in government and the casual manner in which such a serious issue is being handled,” said the statement.

They accused the government of distorting the truth to mislead Kenyans, and linked the jab to a birth control funded by Unicef and the World Health Organisation.

“Kenyans must not receive the vaccine. We are convinced it is indeed a disguised population control plan,” they said.

They said they offered to conduct joint laboratory tests in early March, but the government showed no interest. The government was blackmailing the medical profession into corroborating information about the vaccine, they said.