Violence, Rumors, Mistrust Pose Challenges To Eliminating Polio
Washington Post: The world is close to conquering polio. Humans are holding us back.
“A simple fact: The main obstacle to a world free of polio is not science, biology, or virology. Rather, it is guns, fear, and fake news. … To defeat the polio virus, the world must also defeat human behavior of the worst sort. … The most recent and glaring example of this came in shootings and panic that rocked the polio vaccination campaign in Pakistan, one of only three countries where polio is endemic. … All the incidents have a knock-on effect, causing delays and suspensions in the vaccination campaign, which in turn leads to swathes of population not being inoculated, making them vulnerable to infection. The trouble is not only gunmen. Social media easily spreads alarmist and false rumors about vaccinations. … Nowadays, vaccinations are a critical firewall against illness caused by polio, measles, and Ebola. But vaccines only work if people are inoculated — and they won’t be if frightened by false information on social media or gunmen on a motorcycle” (5/10).