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PBS NewsHour Reports On Pakistan’s Polio Vaccination Campaign Setbacks

PBS NewsHour on Monday aired a video report on setbacks in the polio vaccination campaign in Pakistan, “where there have recently been a series of attacks on those trying to administer vaccines.” Special correspondent Fred de Sam Lazaro reports the country’s polio campaign began to stall “thanks to epic floods, political turmoil, and religious extremists who have fought the polio campaign with guns and rumors.” Lazaro also says the CIA’s use of a vaccination campaign as a cover to obtain more information on Osama bin Laden’s whereabouts in Pakistan has engendered distrust of the efforts, according to the video transcript. In response, “the vaccination campaign recently enlisted prominent mainline religious leaders,” Lazaro reports, though “such reassurances haven’t made life any safer for vaccinators. At least 22 have been gunned down in the past year or so.” In addition, “there’s one more complication … a seeming public indifference,” Lazaro reports. The video report features a neighborhood in Pakistan where “[t]here’s no clean drinking water, no sanitation, no schools. For millions of Pakistanis who live in conditions like these, polio is hardly the most pressing concern” (10/7).