Polio vaccine safe, confirms WHO
05 August 2015, 08:18
Nairobi - World Health Organisation (WHO) has dismissed claims by the Catholic Church that the polio vaccine meant for children below five is not safe.
WHO Country Representative Dr. Custodia Mandlhate has assured parents that the vaccine is safe and should ensure their children are immunised.
Speaking at a Nairobi hotel during ‘National Stakeholders Immunisation Forum’, Mandlhate said immunisation is one of the most successful and cost effective health interventions currently and it should be embraced.
Catholic Church leaders led by Cardinal John Njue have been calling on government to postpone the launch of the immunisation exercise scheduled for this Saturday to allow for joint-tests to be done in the presence of representatives from various institutions including the church to confirm that the vaccine is safe.
The Catholic Church has also been urging parents and Kenyans in general to ignore the exercise until its concerns are addressed.
Among its concerns, the Catholic Church has said that it does not trust WHO and UNICEF who are funding the polio campaign.
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Director of Medical Services Dr Nicholus Muraguri, who attended the forum, told off the Catholic Church and assured Kenyans that the immunization exercise will kick off as planned.
Representatives from various institutions attending Tuesday’s forum supported views by WHO Country Representative and faulted the Catholic Church for misleading Kenyans.
Organisations represented at the forum include UNICEF, USAID, Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation (BMGF), National Immunization Technical Advisory Group of Kenya (KENITAG), and Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).
The session went emotional moment when nominated Senator Harold Kipchumba, who is the Health Ministry’s polio and immunisation ambassador narrated how polio made him a cripple.
“Polio made me a cripple, lowered my dignity and self-esteem. It is so painful to be isolated by your family and friends. That is what polio made me go through. I feel the pain when I see people opposing vaccination exercise and programme,” said Kipchumba.
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