Polio vaccination exercise kicks off

Polio vaccination exercise kicks off

The polio vaccination exercise kicks off today, Saturday, despite the opposition by a section of Catholic Church leaders.

Director of Medical Services Nicholas Muraguri has 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).

Muraguri says all stakeholders including the Catholic Church held a meeting and agreed that Kenya’s risk of polio was still high noting that the polio vaccination campaigns were necessary for the country to achieve a polio free status.

Muraguri has appealed to Kenyans and especially caregivers of children below 5 years to avail the children for vaccination.

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 9 years.

About two days ago, the Catholic Church and the government were yet again involved in a row over a planned anti-polio vaccine campaign.

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 do not trust the World Health Organisation (WHO) and the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) who are funding the campaign.

Last year, the Catholic Church opposed the tetanus vaccination campaign by the government claiming that the vaccine had been laced with a birth control hormone. 

The Catholic Commission argued that the government did not sufficiently prepare stakeholders for the tetanus vaccinations.

It said that the public had not been told of the rationale and background for the tetanus campaign. It also questioned why the campaign was targeting only women of 14 to 49 years.

The commission said that Catholic Church’s health institutions wanted to participate in ensuring that the vaccines to be administered were free of the hormone.

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Maureen Murimi
Story By Maureen Murimi
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