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Kenyan bishops remain leery of vaccination campaign

January 22, 2015

The Catholic bishops of Kenya remain concerned about a vaccination campaign sponsored by the World Health Organization, despite preliminary tests that seemed to quell fears that the vaccine included chemicals that would sterilize women without their knowledge.

After the Catholic hierarchy complained that the vaccine was being used as part of a surreptitious sterilization campaign, the bishops agreed with the government to undertake a joint testing campaign. Early results from those tests showed that none of the vaccines provided by the government included Beta HCG, the chemical that would cause sterilization.

However, Church leaders observe that the government provided new vaccine samples for these tests, whereas earlier samples, tested last year by Catholic scientists, showed the presence of Beta HCG. A private laboratory, using samples obtained last year, also found that some vials included the suspect chemical.

Cardinal John Njue, the chairman of the Kenyan bishops’ conference, remarked: “It is worth noting that only the Catholic Church had collected samples during the actual March and October 2014 tetanus vaccination campaigns.” In light of the remaining questions about why Beta HCG was found in the samples last year, he suggested that further testing should be conducted.

“We insist that no further mass tetanus vaccination campaigns should be undertaken in Kenya before the vaccines have been appropriately tested and proven to be safe,” the bishops’ conference announced.

 
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