6 million children immunized in Polio vaccination exercise
At least 6 million children under the age of 5 years were vaccinated by the end of the polio vaccination exercise.
According to the Health Cabinet Secretary James Macharia, the number surpassed the target set by the government despite opposition by the Catholic Church.
Macharia made the remarks during the opening of a refurbished level Four hospital in Tharaka Nithi.
The first phase of the polio vaccination exercise ended on Wednesday following the vaccination campaign that stated last Saturday.
The Polio vaccination exercise, which focused on 32 high-risk counties, received mixed reactions with the Catholic Church warning that the vaccine may not be safe.
This came even after the Director of Medical Services Nicholas Muraguri assured Kenyans that the vaccines used during polio vaccination campaigns are safe and have been tested by the Poisons and Pharmacy board and prequalified by the World Health Organization (WHO).
Catholic Church Cardinal John Njue and chairman of the Catholic Health Commission, Rt. Rev. Paul Kariuki, asked that the Ministry of Health and the Church carry out a joint test of the vaccine before the polio vaccination exercise kicks off.
The Catholic clerics said that they did not trust the World Health Organisation (WHO) and the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) who were funding the campaign.
Kericho Governor Paul Chepkwony and area Women Representative Hellen Chepkwony asked religious and other leaders to consider the future health of children before politicising the polio vaccination campaign among ordinary Kenyans.
The last indigenous polio virus case in the country was reported and confirmed in 1984.
However, the country has experienced four outbreaks in the last nine years.
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