Here's another twist on "vaccine safety." Over the past year, Pakistani villagers have been shooting healthcare workers that came to give them the polio vaccine.
Foreign Policy has the exact numbers. Up to 22 workers may have been killed—one of the incidences was a roadside bomb, so it might have just happened to catch vaccinators—while 14 others have been bombed, taken for ransom, tortured, or otherwise injured. The violence likely stems from the Pakistani Taliban's opposition to vaccination, Foreign Policy reports.
Taliban leaders have a variety of reasons they're suspicious of the polio vaccine. They think vaccinators could be spies for the U.S. military--more on this later--or that they could be part of a plot to sterilize Muslims. Last year, Pakistani Taliban groups questioned why Americans fund both fatal drone strikes and life-saving vaccination programs. Leaders said they would ban vaccinators from reaching them until the U.S. stops using drone strikes.
One major setback to polio vaccination came when journalists began reporting that during the search for Osama bin Laden, one Pakistani doctor pretended he was giving townspeople the Hepatitis B vaccine. In reality, he took samples to DNA test, to search for bin Laden's relatives. Although the polio vaccine couldn't be used in this way because it's given as oral drops, the Taliban has used the hepatitis example to call for opposition to polio vaccination, saying healthcare workers could be working for the U.S.' C.I.A.
Pakistan is one of only three countries in the world where people still regularly contract polio. The others are Afghanistan and Nigeria. Yet experts worry that continued vaccination resistance in these places could bring about a resurgence of polio in countries where it's been eradicated, as international travel could spread infections far beyond country borders. A dozen prominent U.S. public health researchers have repudiated the false hepatitis campaign. As a May opinion piece in Scientific American put it, "the operation that led to [bin Laden's] death may yet kill hundreds of thousands more" from polio vaccine refusal.
The New York Times has a unique perspective, describing the towns where polio incidence is the highest and where some workers lost their lives. One doctor, a Muslim, took a journalist on a tour in April and talked about a fatwa placed upon him. In May, a gunman killed him and injured his one-year-old daughter.
Its a massive disappointment that there are places in the world where you can get killed for helping people.
Yeah, Blarg, it is a massive disappointment that an organization with the budget of the CIA can't find ANY way to do their thing without turning populations of murderously angry people AGAINST ALL OF OUR HUMANITARIAN WORKERS.
Isn't it strange? We deride people for using human shields, but at the same time, set up unsuspecting doctors and nurses to take the brunt of the violence for our combative and covert troops. What's that make US?
The Bin Laden raid was hardly the first time this technique has been used. It's been known the world over for years. CIA has taken extraordinary measures to infiltrate MANY of our charitable and humanitarian groups--since inception.
This is yet another arena where lots of our citizens think our government is out of control. This behavior should be classified as a war crime. It gains this nation NOTHING of worth, and destroys ALL attempts for peace worldwide.
Really puts a person into a tight spot. On one hand you want to scream let the children die, one less future terrorist. On the other hand you realize the children have not so far been any part of their parents madness.
The entire country is a hotbed for various diseases.
You'd have to be out of your mind to help there.
Wonder where the Islamic countries are in this. Why aren't they demanding the Taliban to stop? Why aren't they sending Doctors and support staff?
"Yet experts worry that continued vaccination resistance in these places could bring about a resurgence of polio in countries where it's been eradicated" - So does that mean that these experts are worried that people who have been vaccinated against polio will contract it??
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The health workers in Pakistan and in Nigeria are nearly all natives of their respective countries. The reason to terrorize them is mostly to make the population in these places more miserable and therefore more likely to follow extremist religious leaders.
I pray for this that are sick and suffer.
I pray for medical science to continue to grow and help others.
I pray for those who maintain ignorance, who are really illustrating their own ignorance and fear too.
We will all eventually die, but humanity has the ability to reduce suffering if allowed. We are our worse enemy to curing suffering.
People are angry because the cheap oral polio vaccine is paralyzing people; meanwhile in India, the polio rate effectively is zero.
Note this April-June 2013 article in the Indian Journal of Medical Ethics.
“[W]hile India has been polio-free for a year, there has been a huge increase in non-polio acute flaccid paralysis (NPAFP). In 2011, there were an extra 47,500 new cases of NPAFP. Clinically indistinguishable from polio paralysis but twice as deadly, the incidence of NPAFP was directly proportional to doses of oral polio received. Though this data was collected within the polio surveillance system, it was not investigated. The principle of primum-non-nocere was violated.”