Opinions About The CIA’s Vaccination Campaign In Pakistan

Health experts and writers continue to react to the CIA’s use of a vaccine campaign to hunt Osama bin Laden:

  • “The revelation that the CIA used a covert vaccination program to attempt to obtain DNA from the bin Laden compound in Pakistan could have a profound impact on NGOs, vaccination drives and indeed on global healthcare policies. It politicizes medical aid and will fuel anti-vaccination conspiracy theories, which risk rolling back the successes in programs such as the multibillion-dollar polio eradication initiative,” Andrew Chambers, a former aid worker, writes in the Guardian (7/13).
  • “It’s clear that there should be a deeper investigation into the U.S. government’s decision to set up the fake vaccination program in Abbottabad. Criticism is well warranted, and there is no shortage of that right now. But that’s not the interesting part of the story; governments routinely use sneaky tactics to achieve their goals. To me, the interesting story is this: Everyone in the world knows how much health-care matters. Seriously, even evil terrorist masterminds know it’s important to vaccinate their kids. Just think what we can do with that, if we use it the right way,” global health consultant Alanna Shaikh writes in a Foreign Policy opinion piece (7/13).
  • The Guardian’s Sarah Boseley writes on her “Global Health Blog”: “I’m hoping the Abbottabad ruse will not have such widespread and dire consequences. There has been no suggestion that the vaccine was anything other than the real one for hepatitis B and the key figure in the plot was a senior Pakistani medical doctor, who is now paying for his duplicity at the hands of the Pakistani security services. I’m hoping it will be seen for what it was – a black day for medical ethics and a one-off crazy scheme to locate bin Laden, which failed” (7/13).
  • Health writer Maryn McKenna writes on her Wired “Superbug” blog: “The accusations that polio vaccination was a Potemkin cover for anti-Islamic activities almost ruined the international eradication of polio when they were false. Now, on the basis of the CIA’s alleged appalling ruse in Pakistan, they may be made again. And they will be much more believable, because this time they might be true” (7/13).

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