Tags: pakistani | parents | arrested | vaccination | polio

Pakistani Parents Arrested for Not Vaccinating Kids Against Polio

By    |   Monday, 02 Mar 2015 04:12 PM

Pakistani parents refusing to vaccinate their children against polio were arrested by the hundreds over the weekend for endangering public security.

A Peshawar district spokesperson said it was the first time so many arrests were made; 471 people were jailed, although parents who agreed to allow their children to be vaccinated were not arrested, The Associated Press reported.

"This is the first time such drastic action was taken," Feroz Shah told the AP. "This shows determination of the government to eradicate polio."

Most cases of polio reported in 2014 occurred in Pakistan. According to Global Polio Eradication Initiative data, the country reported 306 cases, followed by Afghanistan with 28 cases. Polio is endemic in Pakistan, Nigeria, and Afghanistan.

Pakistani officials have focused on vaccinating children in the country, and the AP reported that they targeted about 35 million children for vaccinations in January alone.

“We had 13,000 to 16,000 refusal cases,” Peshawar’s deputy police commissioner for Riaz Khan Mahsud told The New York Times. “There is total determination on our part. We shall convince parents of the good of vaccinating their children, but if they refuse, we shall detain them. There is no leniency.”

The Times quoted an anonymous government official who said the number of warrants issued for parents “keep fluctuating.”

“The application of laws is working,” the official said. “Some parents readily agree to vaccinate children to avoid detention. Others take a few days behind the bars to see reason. We take an affidavit from them and let them go if they bring kids for vaccination.”

The campaign to eradicate polio in Pakistan pushes on even as health workers giving vaccinations are often killed, allegedly by the Taliban. In 2012, nine workers were shot.

“Now, our work is becoming more dangerous with every passing day," Shaheen Begum told The Telegraph at the time. "I am still scared to be part of the campaign, but it would be a sign of cowardice if I withdraw my support. So I have decided to continue vaccinating children till the eradication of poliomyelitis from Pakistan."

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Pakistani parents refusing to vaccinate their children against polio were arrested by the hundreds over the weekend for endangering public security.
pakistani, parents, arrested, vaccination, polio
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2015-12-02
Monday, 02 Mar 2015 04:12 PM
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