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WHO, Unicef say tetanus vaccine is safe

Health & Science - By Ashley Lime and Ally Jamah | November 14th 2014 at 12:00:00 GMT +0300

Kenya: The tetanus vaccine being given to Kenyan women is not contaminated with a human hormone used to sterilise women, a top World Health Organisation (WHO) official has revealed.

WHO Reproductive Health and Research Director Marleen Temmerman said the vaccine did not contain the beta human chorionic gonadotropin (hCG) hormone said to sterilise women.

“This issue has blown up in Kenya and it is a good decision to have it brought to the fore,” said Prof Temmerman.

She was speaking at the Safari Park Hotel yesterday during the advocacy meeting for senators and members of the National Assembly on accelerating the attainment of the fifth Millennium Development Goal and advance of the Beyond Zero campaign.

She called for continuation of the immunisation programme as authorities verify whether or not the human hormone is present in the vaccine.

Senate Speaker Ekwe Ethuro said the Ministry of Health and the Catholic Church would conduct joint tests.

This came after WHO and the United Nations Children’s Fund (Unicef) issued a statement saying they were deeply concerned about the “misinformation circulating in the media” about the tetanus toxoid vaccine.

The two said the allegations against the vaccine were capable of undermining the national immunisation programmes for children and women.


“We have taken note of the test results claiming to show levels of hCG in samples submitted to some clinical laboratories. However, it is important to note that testing for content of medicine... needs to be done in a suitable laboratory, and from a sample of actual medicine or vaccine obtained from an unopened pack and not a blood sample,” the statement read in part.

They said over 130 million women in 52 countries had received over two doses of the vaccine.

“Only the Pharmacy and Poisons Board has the capacity and mandate to determine the quality, safety and efficacy of medicines and to advise the Government,” they said.


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