Anti-vaccine doctor dies from Covid-19
Stephen Karanja came out against Covid jabs back in March
A member of the Kenya Catholic Doctors Association (KCDA), Dr. Stephen Karanja, has died from COVID-19 infection just weeks after he came out in open opposition against vaccinations. He passed away on Thursday, just a week after catching coronavirus.
The Kenyan anti-vaccine doctor described the jabs as "totally unnecessary" in a letter written on March 3rd, and said that "there are drugs that have been repurposed and used effectively to treat Covid-19," suggesting alternatives such as steam inhalation and hydroxychloroquine tablets - none of which have been approved as proper treatments.
He went on to label the "motivation" from the World Health Organisation (WHO), the Catholic church and international governments to vaccinate "suspect", as he questioned the safety of the Covid jabs.
The WHO has assured people that the vaccine being distributed in Kenya, "has been reviewed and found safe not only by the WHO rigorous process but also by several stringent regulatory authorities" and that there is no evidence to substantiate Karanja's claims surrounding its safety.
Karanja has been a controversial figure in Kenya for some time: not only has he rallied various religious groups against the global COVAX camapign, but he has also been staunchly anti-abortion and opposed several initiatives regarding women's health.
In 2019 he fought against the vaccination of schoolgirls against cervical cancer, saying the Human Papilloma Virus (HPV) jab was also "unnecessary" as the infection simply affected people "whose lifestyle involves irresponsible sexual behaviours".
Even further back in 2014, he led the KCDA in opposing the Kenyan government's rollout of a tetanus vaccine that specifically targeted the female population, suggesting that the underlying motive was a secret sterilisation campaign, despite local health authorities, WHO and Unicef all reassuring it was safe.
The Kenya Conference of Catholic Bishops spokesperson, Father Ferdinand Lugonzo, has said that Karanja and the KCDA do not reflect the views of the church, stating their job "is to speak on matters of morality and faith. The mandate of the doctors is to speak on their understanding of their scientific practice. We are not at variance."