A Kuwaiti health official has challenged anti-H1N1 vaccine sceptics to produce scientific evidence supporting their allegations that it was unsafe.
Kuwaiti media have reported that the swine flu vaccine was harmful, raised health risks and caused complications, including foetal abnormalities and sexual impotence.
However, Dr Abeer Al Bahho, head of health promotion, dismissed the reports as "lacking credibility".
"There is no scientific proof that the vaccine causes foetal abnormalities or complications. Current fears are due to the failure to get back to reliable scientific sources," Dr Abeer Al Bahho, head of health promotion, was quoted by Kuwait News Agency (KUNA) as saying. "Concerns are justified and expected as such a vaccine is something new worldwide, but this does not mean that it is unsafe. There is no scientific source saying that the vaccine could cause impotence," she said, challenging "anybody who may have different information in this respect to come up with it immediately."
The health official referred the media to the recommendations by the World Health Organization (WHO) and US Centre for Disease Control and Prevention urging pregnant women to take the swine flu vaccine as infection could lead to abortion or premature birth-giving.
Children under five years old, chronic disease sufferers, pregnant women and obese people are given a top priority in terms of vaccination, Dr Abeer said.
Last week, A Kuwaiti lawmaker demanded to know from the health minister whether the H1N1 swine flu vaccine raised health risks.
In a string of questions to the minister, MP Ali Al Daqbasi asked if the vaccine was safe enough to administer.
"Has the ministry of health taken guarantees from the laboratory that it did cause problems? What are these guarantees?" the MP asked.Campaigns by all Gulf Cooperation Council countries to encourage nationals and expatriates to get the vaccine have been fiercely resisted amid allegations that it was not safe and that it had ominous side effects, particularly sexual dysfunctions.