, NAIROBI, Kenya, Oct 13 – The government has assured the Catholic Church on the safety of the Neonatal Tetanus vaccine which is to be administered to approximately 20 million women across the country.
The Church had earlier objected to the campaign, raising questions on the vaccine’s effects on women’s reproductive health.
Health Cabinet Secretary James Macharia said on Monday the tetanus vaccine had been scientifically proven to be safe and does not impact the female reproductive capacity.
“The science behind vaccination should be the basis of making decisions, and I believe going with history we shall have big numbers – women and girls – coming forward whether or not they are Catholics. But we would also like to advice our brothers and sisters in the Catholic faith to please listen to us as we outline the science behind this vaccination, it is very safe,” he said.
Macharia said continued opposition from the Catholic Church was likely to hinder the efforts put in place by the ministry to reduce maternal mortality.
“We are meeting three bishops together with their adviser; we are eager to talk with them and they are also very keen to hear from us and I believe after this meeting, they will have the confidence that the science behind this vaccine, it is safe and it does not impact the reproductive capacity of the girls and women of this nation,” he said.
The initiative by the ministry of health is in collaboration with UNICEF, World Health Organization and other partners and seeks to implement the third round of Maternal and Neonatal Tetanus elimination campaign in 60 sub-counties.