Catholic Medical Quarterly Volume 65(1) February 2015

The WHO/UNICEF Sponsored Tetanus Vaccination programme in Kenya

Editorial Comment
Many of our readers will have been greatly vexed by the suggestion that tetanus vaccines are being used in Kenya to sterilise women without their consent. Such practices would be completely evil and we are relieved to be able to publish the statements from Matercare which helps to allay those fears. But we also publish the (earlier) article by Steve Mosher which sets out some reasons why humble people in countries such as Kenya may well mistrust WHO vaccination campaigns. As Matercare state so well, “Once the absence of HCG is unequivocally confirmed, a public statement and campaign of support for the immunization programme will be necessary to minimize the potential for further damage”. Good vaccines for good purposes are essential to improving the health of all peoples. There is much to do to build the confidence of many poorer communities in global vaccination campaigns. The truth unequivocally delivered will help here.

Statement from MaterCare re: 2014 WHO/UNICEF sponsored Tetanus Vaccination Programme in Kenya 21/11/2014

  1. The Kenyan Catholic Medical Association and the Kenya Conference of Catholic Bishops acting in good faith on the evidence presented to them, fulfilling their pastoral duty, have alleged that Tetanus vaccine used in Kenya has been laced with hCG hormone as part of a covert population control measure (1,2)
  2. The Kenya situation mimics what happened in the mid 1990’s in the Philippines, Mexico, Peru, Nicaragua and Tanzania (3). Independent testing of vaccine samples in several reputable laboratories in the 1990’s found no evidence of hCG. The “positive” reactions reported in other laboratories were due to non- specific binding to unknown materials of no biological or immunological significance at levels way below the discrimination threshold of the assay system used. In one such test tap water showed “positivity”for hCG. (4)
  3. The basis for these recurring allegations goes back to the development of contraceptive vaccines back in the 1970s-80s, by WHO, but development never went beyond a Phase 1 trial, because of an anti-vaccine campaign by a powerful feminist advocacy movement initiated in the Netherlands, and because WHO funding was being diverted from contraceptive development into maternal health and HIV-AIDS. Consequently WHO withdrew from further research. However, Prof Pran Talwar in India in the 1970-80s developed an hCG containing vaccine, linked to tetanus toxoid as a carrier to improve immunogenicity. This vaccine went into Phase 2 trials with variable results. The dose of hCG contained in the immunising regime of 3 injection was 80-160 micrograms. (5) This is massive compared to what was purportedly found in the recent Kenya vaccine samples (6)
  4. The validity of the vaccine assays performed in the 5 laboratories in Kenya is questionable for 2 reasons: the assays were valid for human serum and not vaccine, and the substance they detected (which is not hCG) varied by a factor of 4000 times between laboratories.
  5. Even if the substance assayed was hCG, the levels were so minute that there is no way this could produce antibody levels with a contraceptive effect. (6)
  6. If tetanus toxoid vaccines given to millions of women in many countries was capable of causing infertility there would by now be ample demographic data to confirm this. We know of no such data.
  7. WHO and UNICEF are intensively regulated organisations mandated to improve the physical and social well-being of women and children throughout the world. They are, therefore, unlikely to be involved in giving a contraceptive vaccine disguised as a tetanus vaccine. This would amount to a gross violation of human rights as per the Nuremberg principles and could be submitted to the International Criminal Court in the Hague.
  8. The language used and the accusations in Kenya are almost identical to the 1990’s scenarios. There appears to have been an unfortunate re-cycling of inaccurate information.
  9. MaterCare believes the best solution is for the Kenyan authorities to communicate directly with the WHO in Geneva to offer support and encouragement to expeditiously test samples supervised by both parties in independent, reputable and competent laboratories. Once the absence of hCG is unequivocally confirmed, a public statement and campaign of support for the immunization programme will be necessary to minimize the potential for further damage.
  10. To allay fears in the future WHO should officially certify that all vaccines do not contain any substance with contraceptive properties through a process of randomly testing all future batches for hCG.
  11. Once the purity of the tetanus vaccine used in Kenya has been confirmed, there will be no need to test previously vaccinated women for hCG antibodies. Vaccinated women suffering from infertility or recurrent miscarriage should be thoroughly investigated for all causes.


  1. Mosher S. Who’s Behind the Program to Sterilize Kenya Woman Without Their Consent? Weekly briefing. Population Research Institute. 14 November 2014
  2. Gennarini S. C-FAM Exclusive: UNICEF Denies Sneaking Birth Control Into Tetanus Vaccines. 13 November 2014
  3. Milstein J et al. Damage to Immunization Programmes from Misinformation on Contraceptive Vaccines. Reproductive health Matters Number 6.1995:24-28.
  4. Press Release WHO/56 and Page 2 Who/55 19 July 1995
  5. Talwar GP et al. The HSD-hCG vaccine prevents pregnancy in woman: feasibility study of a reversible safe contraceptive vaccine. Am J Reprod Immuno. 1997;37 (2):153-60
  6. Personal Communications from the Health Department of the Kenya Conference of Catholic Bishops.
  7. Personal communication from Dr Warren Jones, Emeritus Professor of Obstetrics and Gynaecology, Flinders Medical Centre and Flinders University of South Australia, Bedford Park 5042, South Australia 

Dr R. L. Walley
Founder and Executive Director, MaterCare International
Professor Emeritus, Obstetrics and Gynaecology 

Dr Elvis Seman
Chair, MaterCare Australia
Head of Urogynaecology, Flinders Medical Centre
Senior Lecturer (honorary, Flinders University, South Australia

Dr Bogdan Chazan
Chair, MaterCare Poland
Professor of Obstetrics and Gynaecology
Warsaw, Poland

Stop Press

Since this huge controversy erupted is has become clear that some tetanus vaccines did indeed contain HCG. But in fact, despite that, it appears that the vaccines are safe. In their most recent statement the Kenyan Catholic Doctors stated that the Church and Kenyan medics have just announced that tetanus vaccine is safe. While
there is still concern as to how the HCG got into the vials we must hope that the controversy will not stop good vaccines being given in Kenya and elsewhere. Nonetheless, given the facts as they appeared last December, we applaud the Kenyan Doctors and Church for the work they have done to protect so many vulnerable people.