District coordination officer (DCO) Rashid Mehmood has said that parents who decline to vaccinate their children against polio must revise their attitude. The DCO said that several schools in the district had refused to have children vaccinated against polio and dozens of parents had protested against the vaccination drive after two clerics announced in the mosque that the vaccination would cause sterility.
“The clerics said that the polio vaccine was part of a western conspiracy to destroy Pakistan and that the drops would make the children sterile but this is nonsense,” Mehmood said.
Presiding over a meeting to review arrangements for a drive against polio, the DCO appealed to parents to change their attitude and added that there should be no misconceptions about the polio vaccination which was meant to save children from a crippling disease. “We are trying to eradicate this disease and it doesn’t help when such medieval conspiracy theories are being promoted,” he added. The DCO said that private schools which refused to cooperate with polio teams would face cancellation of their registration.
Dr Ali Athar informed the meeting that polio vaccine did not contain any element or substance that was un-Islamic or hazardous to health. “The vaccine is the easiest thing to administer in the form of drops and can prevent a horrible disease and save lives. Everyone should cooperate with the government,” he added.
Published in The Express Tribune, September 17th, 2011.