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Authorities in Pakistan arrested a man on Tuesday for allegedly disseminating false rumors on social media that the polio vaccine led to fainting and vomiting, a move that prompted concerned parents to rush 25,000 children to the hospital and a mob of about 500 people to set fire to a local health center.
According to the Agence France-Presse (AFP) news agency, the mob also held polio workers from the health center, identified as the Basic Health Unit, “hostage for some time.”
Nigeria - Afghanistan - Pakistan - Polio - Bastions
Along with Nigeria and neighboring Afghanistan, Pakistan is considered one of the last polio bastions in the world.
The unfounded fears came as health workers were carrying out a three-day vaccination campaign in Pakistan’s volatile Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (KP), which lies along the Afghanistan border and serves as a sanctuary for the Taliban and other jihadi groups. These groups, according to the Telegraph, claim the vaccine is a Western conspiracy to harm or sterilize children.
Saddar - Sahibzada - Sajjad - Superintendent - Police
Saddar Sahibzada Sajjad, the deputy superintendent of the local police, indicated to Pakistan’s Dawn newspaper that authorities filed a police report “against identified individuals for setting fire to a Basic Health Unit and causing widespread panic by rumor-mongering.”
Sajjad confirmed the arrest of Nazar Muhammad for spreading the misinformation, adding that more arrests are forthcoming in connection to the vandalism at the hands of the mob.
Babar - Bin - Atta - Pakistani - Minister
Babar Bin Atta, the Pakistani prime minister’s spokesman for polio matters, reportedly vowed to take action against everyone involved in damaging the anti-polio campaign.
“Panic was created to jeopardize polio vaccination as part of a campaign and to put our children at risk of diseases. It is a criminal act and perpetrators will be held accountable. There were no instances of diarrhea or skin rashes on affected children,” he proclaimed, according to Dawn.
US - Centers - Disease - Control - Prevention
According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), polio is only...
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