Catholic priests in Kenya preaching unfounded claim about tetanus vaccine

This story is making the rounds on unreliable “news” sites like Natural News. Back in October, the BBC ran a story on how the fear being stoked about tetanus vaccinations is unfounded. But are Kenyans listening.

‘A mass sterilization exercise’: Kenyan doctors find anti-fertility agent in UN tetanus vaccine.

Kenya’s Catholic bishops are charging two United Nations organizations with sterilizing millions of girls and women under cover of an anti-tetanus inoculation program sponsored by the Kenyan government.

According to a statement released Tuesday by the Kenya Catholic Doctors Association, the organization has found an antigen that causes miscarriages in a vaccine being administered to 2.3 million girls and women by the World Health Organization and UNICEF. Priests throughout Kenya reportedly are advising their congregations to refuse the vaccine.

But the government says the vaccine is safe. Health Minister James Macharia even told the BBC, “I would recommend my own daughter and wife to take it because I entirely 100% agree with it and have confidence it has no adverse health effects.”

And Dr. Collins Tabu, head of the Health Ministry’s immunization branch, told the Kenyan Nation, that “there is no other additive in the vaccine other than the tetanus antigen.”

Dr. Ngare told LifeSiteNews that several things alerted doctors in the Church’s far-flung medical system of 54 hospitals, 83 health centres, and 17 medical and nursing schools to the possibility the anti-tetanus campaign was secretly an anti-fertility campaign.

Life Site News is a conservative, pro-life website. This piece reeks of conspiracy theories, bias and a religious pro-life message.

BBC News – Kenya Catholic Church tetanus vaccine fears ‘unfounded’.

Catholic priests have been telling their congregations to boycott a campaign that begins on Monday to vaccinate women against tetanus.

Tetanus is regarded as a big threat to babies in Kenya, with a new-born child dying every day of the infection.

According to Kenya’s health ministry, about 550 babies died of tetanus in Kenya last year.

There is no additional information about the test that supposedly showed the antigen. One set of tests from a very biased source is certainly not enough to dismiss an entire campaign to stop such a dangerous but preventable illness. The World Health Organization has approved the vaccine. This sounds like baseless propaganda. Unless more and better evidence comes to light, there is no reason to buy that it is true. Sadly, people in Kenya might rather be “safe than sorry” in their own misguided thinking based on this information, thus resulting in decreased immunity and subsequently, deaths.

Why should we be listening to Catholic priests on the issue of tetanus vaccinations? Why are other Catholic leaders not condemning this irresponsible action?

Tip: Society for Science Based Medicine

  15 comments for “Catholic priests in Kenya preaching unfounded claim about tetanus vaccine

  1. busterggi
    November 9, 2014 at 8:59 PM

    “Why are other Catholic leaders not condemning this irresponsible action?”

    Too busy promoting exorcisms.

  2. Headless Unicorn Guy
    November 9, 2014 at 10:01 PM

    Can anyone trace down the “Catholic Priests” involved and confirm these statements?

    Catholic Priests I have known have more sense than that, and this sounds like there’s a layer or two of urban legend between the original and what’s been publicized. Plus, I’ve had run-ins with militant Anti-Catholic types (both fundies and outside of religion), and when you’re that set against something, tweaking fact for The Cause is always a temptation.

  3. Peter Robinson
    November 10, 2014 at 3:33 AM

    Last time I checked the catholics still believe in transubstantiation, and a whole host (deliberate pun) of other nonsense. I don’t see many coming out about the utter bs of exorcism. So how can it be claimed that priests have much sense? They are hidebound by belief in the supernatural, and once on that path it is far from impossible to believe that some can be influenced by daft ideas of just about any flavour.

  4. Mark Richards
    November 10, 2014 at 5:32 AM

    “…catholics still believe in transubstantiation…”

    I’m not sure they do. I was raised in the sect but hadn’t been at a service for 30+ years until my dad’s funeral a few years back, the priests (very strict latin mass types who taught me all those decades previously) were quite happy to hand out ‘the body of christ’ to all comers.

    In England, at least, they’re desperate for any punters they can get and will abandon any cherished dogma to attract them.

  5. Tim
    November 10, 2014 at 6:37 AM

    http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/7945771

    After reviewing the above link, it becomes obvious the idea is not so crazy. They have obviously thought about doing it. Don’t be so quick to discount the story just because they are catholic.

  6. November 10, 2014 at 8:07 AM

    I did NOT discount this because they are Catholic. I am very dubious because it is one sample, apparently not confirmed, proposes a conspiracy and is from a biased source that promotes pro-life propaganda that has been disputed by others. Many good reasons to be skeptical.

  7. CLamb
    November 10, 2014 at 11:36 AM

    The statement of the Kenyan Catholic Bishops can be found here: http://www.kccb.or.ke/home/news-2/press-statement-by-the-kenya-conference-of-catholic-bishops/ . According to the Bishops’ statement the hormone was found in four different samples. The Life Site News article states the hormone was found in six different samples. The calendar of the Kenyan legislature showed a hearing on the issue scheduled for November 4th but I have been unable to find any reports on that hearing.

  8. Paul
    November 10, 2014 at 12:28 PM

    Not only has this been going on in Kenya since at least March, according to the summary and comments at “The Physics Police” (http://thephysicspolice.blogspot.ca/2014/03/tetanus-vaccine-in-kenya.html) there was a similar kerfluffle in the Philippines in 2010 and earlier conspiracy theories starting back in the 1990’s.

  9. the14thListener
    November 10, 2014 at 3:16 PM

    I’d be curious if the Kenya Catholic Doctor’s Association is a real group and not just a sock-puppet organization for whatever faction of the local Catholic church thinks that this is the most important issue facing them.

  10. November 10, 2014 at 5:38 PM

    I think this may track back to this study: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/12346214

  11. Colonel Tom
    November 10, 2014 at 6:26 PM

    Hey, its not like the agents of the U.S. government ever deliberately distributed blankets and bedding obtain directly from smallpox and cholera patients.

    Oh wait.,

  12. CLamb
    November 10, 2014 at 9:34 PM

    References?

  13. Dauntless
    November 11, 2014 at 7:38 AM

    It’s mainstream news in Kenya — for example, this editorial written by a Kenyan OBgyn:

    https://www.kenya-today.com/news/catholic-warning-neonatal-tetanus-vaccine-wto-deadly-bad-women-reproductivity

    Two doses of tetanus vaccine are already provided to pregnant women as a neonatal tetanus preventative. The three to five doses given to non-pregnant women in this campaign are not part of any normal tetanus vaccination protocol and will not have any effect on neonatal tetanus.

  14. Colonel Tom
    November 15, 2014 at 11:55 AM

    Dauntless, I find it hard to believe in such a conspiracy, yet your link is very troubling. The doctor presents a mostly rational case although tainted with a few irrational leaps.

    Assuming that the Gates Foundation is not trying to do to Kenya what Gates did not OS/2, apparently there was so little coordination with the existing medical system that is is easy to see why this has spun out of control. The idea that random samples of the vaccine could not be analyzed by independent laboratories is just an example of a bad crisis management in public policy. The only way to stop one of these panics is through painfully complete openness, even if it is inefficient.

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