'TOTALLY UNNECESSARY': Anti-vaxxer doctor dies of Covid

Olivia Lambert
·News Editor
·3-min read

A doctor staunchly against the Covid vaccine has succumbed to the virus after testing positive. 

Dr Stephen Karanja died on April 29 after being admitted to hospital in Kenya's capital Nairobi when he started suffering symptoms. 

Dr Karanja, the lead of the Kenya Catholic Doctors Association, had been criticised before his death for "misguiding" Kenyans not to take the coronavirus vaccine. 

In a letter to citizens shared to Twitter, Dr Karanja acknowledged Covid-19 brought with it unprecedented new challenges for the health industry but urged people to rethink the vaccine. 

Dr Stephen Karanja warns citizens about the coronavirus vaccine. Source: Twitter
Dr Stephen Karanja warns citizens about the coronavirus vaccine. Source: Twitter

"It's also becoming clear that there are partisan interests that seem bent on keeping some important truths from coming to the fore at the expense of human life," he wrote in the letter dated March 3, a day after more than a million AstraZeneca vaccines arrived in Kenya. 

"We know for a fact that there are drugs that have been re-purposed and used effectively to treat Covid-19. We also know that vaccination for this disease is totally unnecessary making the motivation suspect." 

Dr Karanja added in the letter the Covid vaccine "should not be given".

"We appeal to all people of Kenya to avoid taking this vaccine," he said.

The doctor instead advised Kenyans to visit a hospital at the onset of symptoms for early intervention to prevent mortality. 

He endorsed treatments like hydroxychloroquine, which is used to treat malaria, and Ivermectin, which is used to treat parasite infestations. 

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In March, videos of Dr Karanja spruiking the treatments were posted to Facebook.

"Covid-19 can be treated. The following drugs are the ones that may be used because they are available, they are cheap, and they can be found in Africa, in Kenya, and in other countries at any time," he said in one of the videos. 

"The backbone is a medicine called Ivermectin, normally used for worms, but it is very important in the treatment of Covid-19.

"The other medicine is hydroxychloroquine, so-called HCQ. When used together with zinc 50 milligrams, it weaponises the zinc, which destroys the Covid-19 virus."

The doctor claimed vaccinations were
The doctor claimed vaccinations were "totally unnecessary". Source: Getty

AFP Fact Check reports the Catholic Bishops in Kenya distanced themselves from Dr Karanja's views and supported the vaccines. 

It added none of Dr Karanja's alternative treatments had been scientifically proven to beat Covid and a WHO spokesman for the Africa regional office told AFP the claim was "not based on scientific evidence".

Dr Karanja was known was his controversial views, speaking out against the HPV cervical cancer vaccine for schoolgirls in 2019 and an anti-abortion campaigner. 

According to Johns Hopkins University, Kenya has recorded about 159,000 cases since the start of the pandemic and 2,700 deaths. 

There have been about 853,000 vaccine doses so far administered in the country. 

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