Kenya’s Catholic Bishops are calling for a boycott of an upcoming mass polio vaccination campaign scheduled to commence Saturday because the manufacturer failed to provide requested information and the government disregarded the bishops’ request for tests, according to a National Catholic Reporter report.
The Bishops are questioning the safety of the vaccine and want to have tests performed on it.
As you may recall, the Kenya Conference of Catholic Bishops (KCCB) late last year opposed the mass tetanus vaccination program in the country due to claims of the vaccine being tainted with Beta HCG hormone.
The opposition apparently stems from adverse reactions noted in 30 children with an antimalarial drug.
Kenyan health officials responded in a statement:
“Any attempts aimed at mobilizing the public against taking their children for vaccination is a serious violation of the right of children to health and survival,” said Dr. Nicholas Muraguri, director of Kenya’s Medical Services, in the statement.
“The ministry of health once again reassures the public of the safety of all vaccines used in Kenya,” he said. “I therefore appeal to all stakeholders, especially the leadership of the Catholic Church, to continue supporting” the immunization campaign in Kenya.
Subnational Immunization Days (SNIDs) are planned in August in Kenya on 1 – 5 and 29 – 2 September.
Kenya reported its first polio cases in 2013 during the Horn of Africa outbreak. These were the first cases reported in two years. The Horn of Africa has not seen a new polio case in nearly one year (Somalia in August 2014).
Polio is caused by the poliovirus types 1, 2 and 3. All three types cause paralysis, with wild poliovirus type 1 being isolated from paralysis cases most often.
This viral infection is primarily spread from person to person through the fecal-oral route. However, in places where sanitation is very good,transmission though throat secretions may be considered more important.
Polio is recognized in about 1 percent of infections by flaccid paralysis, while over 90 percent of infectionsare unapparent.
Paralysis of poliomyelitis is usually asymmetric and the site of paralysis depends on the location of nerve cell destruction on the spinal cord or brain stem. Legs are affected more often than the arms.
Paralysis of the respiration can be life threatening.
Most cases of polio are in children under the age of three.
Prevention of polio is through immunization.
There are three countries left on the planet that have not succeeded in interrupting polio transmission and are considered endemic: Afghanistan, Nigeria and Pakistan.