With the government rolling out the cervical cancer vaccine last week, the Catholic Church has cautioned against the vaccine’s side effects.
The Catholic Health Commission (CHC), through Archbishop Martin Kivuva of Mombasa Diocese, cautions that the human papillomavirus (HPV) vaccine has side-effects that the government ought to consider even as it rolls out the campaign.
He advised that continuous tests be done to determine the safety of the vaccine, and how to manage its side effects which include fever, nausea, redness or swelling on the arm where the shot was given, among others.
The Archbishop went ahead to urge Kenyans to ensure their children are vaccinated even as he warned that there are foreign scientific researches that use Kenyans as specimen.
“The government should not just take vaccines from abroad and start distributing without ascertaining their safety.”
“The worst is that some people bring in drugs that have been banned in other countries. We need to be cautious,” Archbishop Kivuva said during the launch of the cervical cancer vaccine campaign. He had accompanied President Uhuru Kenyatta to Ziwani Primary School in Mombasa for the official launch of the campaign targeting 800, 000 school girls.
Echoing the sentiments of Archbishop Kivuva, CHC official Ms Jecinta Mutegi, said that the government and all the health stakeholders must manage the harmful effects of the vaccine.
“They should document and conduct continuous tests to ensure the vaccine is safe. We have vaccines experts who have scientifically scrutinised the vaccine to ensure it is safe. Even the BCG vaccine has side-effects yet we still administer it to our children. What is important is to weigh the benefits vis-à-vis the side effects,” Ms Mutegi cautioned.
The Catholic Church has a strict prohibition against artificial contraception, abortion and any scientific research that uses the human embryonic cells. In Kenya, the Catholic Church has made headlines from time to time by issuing warnings against a number of vaccinations.
In 2014, the church was against vaccination of women against tetanus arguing that the vaccine was laced with a fertility inhibiting hormone. The following year they again advised against vaccinating children against polio claiming that the safety of the vaccine could not be confirmed. In 2016, they again opposed the vaccination of children against measles-rubella and tetanus as they said they could not guarantee the safety of the vaccine.
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