Peshawar, Apr 24 : The polio vaccination campaign in many areas of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa area in Pakistan was halted as mass hysteria persisted following rumours that some children had allegedly suffered reactions, even deaths, because of polio vaccines, leading to refusal rate in thousands.
Police investigating an incident in which a basic health unit was damaged on Monday arrested a suspect for scaremongering and charged 12 others with setting it on fire. Also, a policeman assigned to a polio team for security in Bannu district was shot dead and two new polio cases from Bannu and North Waziristan were reported.
Dawn reports that on Tuesday morning, a large number of parents in different areas of Charsadda district refused to have vaccines administered to their children, according to polio team officials.
They said polio team members stopped the campaign at 10am when nobody was ready to let them give polio drops to their children.
They were asked to wind up their campaign because the Monday incident had swayed parents, who told the polio teams that they were not ready to risk their children’s lives.
On Monday, hospitals received terrified children from Badbher area in Peshawar, complaining of nausea and abdominal pain. Hundreds visited the Lady Reading Hospital (LRH) with most released after treatment.
The doctors at LRH said it was psychological whatever it was that was impacting the children. Rumours that some children had died because of polio vaccines spread like wildfire in the city as children visited hospitals throughout the day, with mosques adding further grist to the rumour mills by announcing to not get the children vaccinated. The panic was further compounded by anti-vaccination videos which quickly began circulating on social media. (UNI)