There are credible claims that the vaccine used in Kenya for a WHO/UNICEF tetanus campaign contains a substance that causes infertility and miscarriages. The Kenyan government says the vaccine is safe and approved by the WHO and UNICEF. The Catholic Bishops of Kenya, not a bunch of fringe anti-vaccination wackos, say they had samples tested that confirm the presence of the infertility-causing hormone.
In kindergarten all of us were hustled onto school buses to go get the oral polio vaccine. I get a flu shot every year. The last two years I even got the new quadrivalent vaccine. Public health is one area where government has important work to do, and I always thought serious doctors and nurses were doing it. Lately it seems decisions are driven more by politics and ideology than science. My confidence in US and global health experts is deeply impaired.
The thing to do now is to make public all the data and documents. Let the bishops release their lab reports, let the government release theirs, and do everything with complete transparency. But instead the government will deny, deny, deny. The papers will ignore it or repeat the government’s and WHO’s assurances without doing any investigative reporting. If the bishops release their lab reports they’ll be ignored or impugned, or contradictory reports will be produced. Transparency is the next-to-last thing there will be, just before public accountability. And as a result more people will avoid vaccinations.
UPDATE 14 November 2014: Does the Kenyan UNICEF Tetanus Vaccine contain HCG and make women infertile? “this seems likely to be a misunderstanding centered on false positive lab results…”
UPDATE 15 November 2014: Fresh medical tests set to clear up controversy on tetanus vaccine: “Yesterday, the Parliamentary Committee on Health ruled that a joint team of experts from the Ministry of Health, Catholic Church and other stakeholders would conduct a fresh round of independent medical tests to end the controversy on the safety of the vaccines.”