A doctor from the UNICEF mission against tetanus administering a vaccination, September 2008. Photo: Valeriya Anufriyeva / Shutterstock

The claims that the World Health Organization secretly administered hormonal “birth-control vaccine” amid its anti-tetanus inoculation campaign in Kenya over three years are bold enough.

Adding to the controversy surrounding the allegations is the complex publication history of the claims. The original paper endorsing the claims in the journal Open Access Library Journal from October 2017 was retracted at the authors’ request – but has since been republished.

“HCG found in WHO Tetanus Vaccine in Kenya Raises Concern in the Developing World” was authored by Christopher Shaw and Lucija Tomljenovic of the University of British Columbia, as well as colleagues from University of Louisiana and two scientists from the Kenya Catholic Doctors Association.

It was the Catholic Church itself that had first made the allegations of tainted tetanus vaccine in 2014. The Kenya Conference of Catholic Bishops apparently tested nine doses of the vaccine – and found three were laced with human chorionic gonadotropin (HCG). The church leaders alleged in 2016 that there was “collusion” between the Kenyan government, and UNICEF, and the WHO to reduce the native population.

The latest paper assesses the allegations – and finds the plot to be a legitimate series of accusations.

“Our opinion is that the Kenya ‘anti-tetanus’ was reasonable called into question by the Kenya Catholic Doctors Association as a front for population growth reduction,” they conclude.

News of the latest retraction, and republication of that paper, was first reported by the science watchdog site Retraction Watch. The site reports that one of the authors said there was initially “some editorial issues” – and an addendum to the paper also indicated there was “another round of peer review.”

The paper has since been republished. Among its accusations: the WHO was first linking tetanus shots to HCG as early as the 1970s, and that their interest is in “family planning” in parts of the developed world. Their methods included comparing this background they compiled with the reports in Kenya, and comparing the vaccine schedules with infertility of patients in the African country. Laboratory tests of the vaccines were also run in 2015. Fifty-two samples of the tetanus vaccines provided by WHO tested negative – but the authors found that 40 of them had identical designator labels as the three vials that had tested positive for the hormones the year before. The paper also alleges that Bill Gates, the Microsoft founder and major philanthropist, is a major supporter of the “world-wide population control objective of the WHO.”

Shaw has been a controversial figure in the scientific niche of vaccine safety studies. He and colleague Tomljenovic, who is also of the Neural Dynamics Research Group in Vancouver, had published a paper in the journal Vaccine that reported side-effect concerns with certain inoculations. That paper was retracted, and then republished in a journal called Immunologic Research several months later. Another paper they and other authors published last year, which linked aluminum adjuvants in vaccines to autism in mice, was retracted from the Journal of Inorganic Biochemistry “due to evidence of incorrect data.”