, NAIROBI, Kenya, Nov 21 – The Kenya National Union of Nurses has joined the campaign to stop the controversial tetanus vaccination until an independent body certifies its safety.
The union’s Secretary General Seth Panyako stated that the storm generated by the tetanus jab must be resolved.
Panyako pointed out that an independent body is best suited to conduct the safety and not the government, in order to bring the matter to a halt.
“We are saying that the tetanus immunisation process should be stopped forthwith until tests are done with an independent body which is not part of the government so that we have an independent source as to whether we should continue with the whole process or not,” he said.
He indicated that nurses will not be comfortable giving the vaccination at a time confusion is reigning over its suitability to mothers.
“So what we are saying is that the whole exercise should be halted until the controversy surrounding the issue is resolved since we do not want to be sued,” he said.
A joint committee that includes representatives of Catholic bishops and the Kenyan Ministry of Health met for the first time in November 19 to discuss concerns about the vaccine, which was found to have beta human chorionic gonadotropin, which prevents women from becoming pregnant.
The joint committee was instituted on November 11 at a meeting between church leaders, including some medical doctors, and the Parliamentary Committee on Health.
Earlier this month, the bishops contended that the vaccine, targeted to women of child-bearing age and not to men, was being administered in a campaign sponsored by the World Health Organization and UNICEF that had been guarded by secrecy and deception.
The hormone, known as beta hCG, was discovered in vaccine samples that representatives of the bishops obtained and sent for testing to unrelated government and private labs between March and October.
The bishops accused the government of an attempt to distort the truth and mislead Kenyans after the Ministry of Health said in a report to the parliamentary Committee on Health that the vaccine was free of the beta hCG hormone.
The vaccine has been linked to what the bishops described as population control when it was administered in other countries. They said the vaccine has been linked to infertility and miscarriages.