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Questions as Church tables tetanus vaccine results

Health & Science - By Ally Jamah | November 13th 2014 at 12:00:00 GMT +0300

Kenya: Questions have emerged over the tetanus vaccine laboratory results submitted by the Catholic Church even as the Government agreed to independent tests.

The Catholic Health Commission of Kenya headed by Rt Rev Paul Njiru and the Catholic Doctors Association led by Dr Stephen Karanja officially tabled the lab results to the Parliamentary Committee on Health on Tuesday.

However, some of the labs which produced those results yesterday clarified that the findings may have been interpreted incorrectly by the Church, saying the results did not indicate the presence of any dangerous component.

The labs cited by the Church were University of Nairobi's College of Health Sciences, Pathologists Lancet Kenya, Nairobi Hospital, Mediplan Dialysis Centres and Pathcare, and the Mater Hospital.

Nairobi Hospital Lab acting Director Andrew Gachii, whose results were cited by the Church, said their findings could not be interpreted as having the hormone in question or not.

"Since we were not given the right information about the samples, we did not apply the right procedures and equipment, meaning the results are inappropriate. We cannot say conclusively the Beta hCG is present in the vaccine until proper tests are done," he said.

Pathologists Lancet Kenya Group CEO Ahmed Kalebi said their results did not conclude the presence of the controversial hormone.

He said the tests for Beta hCG were below the detection limit of 5 milli-international units per millilitre (mIU/mL), which is interpreted as absence of the hormone. Results from all the labs had results ranging from 0.3 to 1.2 mIU/mL.

Dr Kalebi said if they had been informed the samples given to them to test were vaccines and not human samples, they would have applied appropriate testing methods to produce definitive results.

"The lab findings show in a conclusive and irrevocable manner that the tetanus vaccine that was administered on Kenyan women in March and October this year was deliberately laced with Beta hCG," said Dr Karanja during his testimony to the Parliamentary Health Committee.

Yesterday, Health Cabinet Secretary James Macharia also said the vaccines would be taken through fresh joint testing with the Catholic Church and the results about their safety released within two weeks. He welcomed the directive for joint testing.

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