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Indian Authorities Vaccinate Children Crossing India-Pakistan Border; Distrust Of Polio Vaccines Grows In Pakistan

After going a year without recording a polio case, Indian health officials have begun vaccinating young children who cross the border to or from Pakistan at the Munabao railway station in Rajasthan state, BBC News reports. “The drive was launched after more than 175 cases of polio were reported in Pakistan, officials said,” the news agency writes (2/16).

Meanwhile, in Pakistan, “[o]utright distrust in the public health system has taken a crippling toll on the anti-polio initiative, especially in Punjab” province, Inter Press Service reports. The article describes how the deaths of more than 125 cardiac patients after receiving defective oral polio vaccines in Punjab and a fake vaccination drive undertaken last year by the CIA to lead them to Osama Bin Laden have contributed to the public’s wariness. UNICEF “estimates that roughly 700,000 children in [Punjab] province already miss immunization drives for various reasons,” and with “fears of contamination now proliferating, and scores of households resisting the vaccination, medical experts fear this number will now rise,” the news service writes (Ahmed, 2/15).

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Filling the need for trusted information on national health issues, the Kaiser Family Foundation is a nonprofit organization based in Menlo Park, California.