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Kenyan anti-vaccine doctor dies from Covid-19

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A Kenyan doctor who became a vehement opponent of the Covid-19 vaccine has succumbed to the virus, weeks after saying the jab was “totally unnecessary”.

According to BBC, Dr. Stephen Karanja, chairman of the Kenya Catholic doctors association, advocated steam inhalation and hydroxychloroquine tablets.

He clashed with the Catholic church over the safety of the Covid-19 jabs making the Kenya Conference of Catholic Bishops distance itself from his view on the Covid-19 vaccines, saying the vaccines were “licit and ethically acceptable.”

Kenya received just over a million vaccine doses from the global Covax initiative, most of which have been administered.

The country has confirmed more than 160,000 cases and 2,707 deaths. In March, the government imposed another lockdown restricting movement in five counties after a surge in new infections.

In a letter dated 3 March Dr. Karanja said that “there are drugs that have been repurposed and used effectively to treat Covid-19,” adding that “we also know that vaccination for this disease is totally unnecessary making the motivation suspect.”

He went on in different forums to advocate alternative treatments, including steam inhalation and a cocktail of drugs including hydroxychloroquine and Ivermectin, which have not been approved by the WHO to treat Covid-19.

Dr. Karanja, who was an obstetrician and gynecologist, died on Thursday, 29 April, a week after he was admitted to hospital suffering from complications caused by a Covid-19 infection.

He was also a prominent anti-abortion campaigner and appeared in court in 2018 as an expert witness in a case in which the government was sued for withdrawing guidelines on abortion. The high court ruled that the government decision was unlawful and illegal.

Though shunned by a majority of health professionals in Kenya, the Catholic church recognized his association but often hastened to add that Dr. Karanja did not speak for the Catholic church.

In 2019 he led the opposition against vaccination of schoolgirls against cervical cancer, saying the jab against Human Papilloma Virus (HPV) was unnecessary because it affected those “whose lifestyle involves irresponsible sexual behaviors”.

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