AFRICA/KENYA - Mgr. Kariuki Njiru: "No to political controversy on anti-tetanus vaccines. They are safe because controlled"

Wednesday, 4 October 2017 elections   bishops   human life  

Nairobi (Agenzia Fides) - "Anti-tetanus vaccines are controlled and are safe", said His Exc. Mgr. Paul Kariuki Njiru, Bishop of Embu and President of the Bishops' Commission for the Pastoral Care of Kenya, speaking at the opening of the Annual Catholic Conference on health.
"The Catholic Church and other religious organizations are working with the Ministry of Health and with an expert committee", emphasized Mgr. Kariuki Njiru. "Experts assure us that the vaccine which is being given to the population is safe", said the Bishop. In recent years, the Bishops' Conference of Kenya had launched a campaign promoted by the World Health Organization and UNICEF, to ascertain whether the controversial tetanus vaccine against tetanus, contains hCG beta unit, which in reality is a vaccine against pregnancy (see Fides 19/11/2014).
Authorities in Nairobi and the Bishops then reached an agreement to control the composition of the vaccines administered to the female population of Kenya, so as to remove any doubt about the presence of factors that could favor infertility.
The controversy on vaccines was raised again by Raila Odinga, leader and candidate of NASA (National Super Alliance), who is Uhuru Kenyatta’s opponent, outgoing President, in the presidential election on October 26. On August 8, Kenyatta had won the presidential election which were then nulified by the Supreme Court (see Fides 1/9/2017). Odinga has accused the government of having deliberately sterilized "thousands of women" between the ages of 14 and 49, citing inquiries conducted by "four credible institutions" according to whom the vaccine contains Beta HCG.
"The controversy over vaccines means introducing an additional element of anxiety and alarm for the population", say local sources of Fides.
Tension in Kenya remains high. University students of Nairobi have blocked the university to demand the release of Babu Owino, former president of the Nairobi University Students' Association, and a candidate for Odinga’s party, who was arrested on charges of having insulted Kenyatta during a public event. The main religious confessions in Kenya have called on all parties to ensure Kenyans the conditions for a peaceful and credible vote. (see Fides 7/9/2017) (L.M.) (Agenzia Fides, 4/10/2017)