AFRICA/KENYA – Bishops call for general ‘boycot’ of upcoming vaccination campaign until vaccine is tested

Thursday, 30 July 2015

Nairobi (Agenzia Fides) – The Catholic Bishops of Kenya have urged citizens to boycot a maAFRICA/KENYA – Bishops call for general ‘boycot’ of upcoming vaccination campaign until vaccine has been confirmed through scientific tests. The oral vaccination campaign, by the World Health Organization and UNICEF, is scheduled to begin in Kenya on Aug. 1. Ahead of the campaign’s launch, the bishops questioned the safety of the vaccines, saying the manufacturer failed to provide requested information and the government disregarded the bishops’ request for tests. The Bishops concern follows a recent unrelated incident in which about 30 children who received an injection of an anti-malarial drug in a dispensary in western Kenya appeared to be paralyzed. The drug, believed to be quinine for advanced cases, was found to contain the pain drug paracetamol, according to the bishops. In an immediate reply the Kenyan health ministry encouraged support for the vaccination from all sides including the local Catholic Church. Bishop Philip Anyolo, of the diocese of Homa Bay and chairman of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of Kenya, said at a recent press conference in a Nairobi: “We are not in conflict with the Ministry of Health, but we have an apostolic and moral duty to ensure Kenyans are getting safe vaccines”. Early this year, government and bishops came into conflict after the clerics claimed a mass neonatal tetanus vaccination campaign was a disguised form of population control. However both institutions reached an agreement for testing before, during and after vaccination campaigns. “We are not fighting anybody”, said cardinal John Njue, bishop of Nairobi, “we are only trying to prevent our people from suffering from external causes”. (AP) (30/7/2015 Agenzia Fides)