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Catholic Church questions tetanus vaccine targeting women

By Joylene Sing'oei Nairobi, Kenya: The Catholic church in Kenya has raised questions over the ongoing national tetanus vaccination campaign targeting women aged between 14-49 years. The church claims the initiative covering 60 districts has had limited public awareness unlike other national health initiatives that are preceded by a public launch where the public can ask questions. In a statement sent to newsrooms by Catholic Health Commission of Kenya Wednesday evening, the church further alleges that there has been no adequate stakeholder engagement for consultation both in the preparation and implementation of the campaign. The questions the church has put across are; 1- Is there a tetanus crisis on women of child bearing age in Kenya? If this is so, why has it not been declared? 2- Why does the campaign target women of 14 - 49 years? 3- Why has the campaign left out young girls, boys and men even if they are all prone to tetanus? 4- In the midst of so many life threatening diseases in Kenya, why has tetanus been prioritized? “Information in the public domain indicates that Tetanus Toxoid vaccine (TT) laced with Beta human chorionic gonadotropin (b-HCG) sub unit has been used in Philippines, Nicaragua and Mexico to vaccinate women against future pregnancy. Beta HCG sub unit is a hormone necessary for pregnancy’’, read part of the statement. They added that when injected as a vaccine to a non-pregnant woman, the Beta HCG sub unit combined with tetanus toxoid develops antibodies against tetanus and HCG so that if a woman's egg becomes fertilised, her own natural HCG will be destroyed rendering her permanently infertile. In this situation they claim, tetanus vaccination will have been used as a birth control method. “The ongoing tetanus vaccination campaign bears the hallmarks of the programmes that were carried out in Philippines, Mexico and Nicaragua. We are not certain that the vaccines being administered in Kenya are free of this hormone,” the statement signed by Catholic Health Commission of Kenya Chairman Paul Kariuki Njiru read. The church said they acknowledge that maternal and neonatal care is imperative in prevention of death but maintained adequate and clear information should be provided to the general public to avoid misinformation and propaganda in regard to the vaccine. “The sanctity of life and the dignity of the human person must always be priorities in health care and the Catholic Church, in the absence of proper and adequate information will not shy away; from raising moral questions on matters affecting human life.’’

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