In Summary
  • Dr Mailu said the opposition’s statement was a baseless pronouncement that was not backed by evidence.
  • It is estimated that Kenya loses one child every day due to neonatal tetanus.

The Health ministry has dismissed claims that a tetanus vaccine given to women of reproductive age was secretly laced with a hormone said to cause infertility.

At the same time, the United Nations agencies World Health Organization and Unicef said the vaccine is safe for use.

Speaking to the Nation on Tuesday, UN resident coordinator Siddharth Chatterjee reiterated that the vaccines procured by WHO in partnership with Unicef are fit for use.

“This is the same vaccine used across 52 other countries, including India, where the prequalified manufacturer is based,” he said, adding that the two organisations only procure the vaccines upon request from the ministry.

Between May and June, the two organisations bought an estimated three million doses of tetanus toxoid meant for an upcoming immunisation campaign whose date is yet to be announced.

“Our intention is to preserve the lives of mothers and children. It is about protecting the lives of people, mothers and children. Vaccines work,” Mr Chatterjee said.

Health Cabinet Secretary Cleopa Mailu on Tuesday described the controversy as an old matter.

He said the issue had already been resolved through a joint tetanus vaccine testing committee that comprised Health ministry officials, academia and representatives of the Kenya Conference of Catholic Bishops (KCCB).

Dr Mailu said the opposition’s statement on Monday was a baseless pronouncement that was not backed by any scientific evidence, adding that it was intended to cause fear and despondency among Kenyans.

“The joint committee found the sampled vaccine vials safe and free from any contaminants and recommended the vaccine for use,” Dr Mailu said in a statement.

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