Pakistan polio vaccine teams on edge after fatal attacks

Pakistan polio vaccine teams on edge after fatal attacks

ISLAMABAD- Agence France-Presse
Pakistan polio vaccine teams on edge after fatal attacks

Polio workers across Pakistan were instructed to remain vigilant on April 25 after multiple attacks on vaccination teams killed at least three people this week amid an ongoing push to eradicate the disease from the restive country.

The latest victim, a polio worker, was killed in southwestern Balochistan province on April 25 morning following separate attacks targeting health workers in the country's northwest earlier this week that resulted in the deaths of two police officers.

"The attack has taken place in a remote area, and we have received reports that one female polio worker has been killed," Attaullah Shah, a district police chief, told AFP.

Security officials in Pakistan told AFP that authorities have instructed polio teams to remain "vigilant" amid the violence.               

The attacks come days after more than 25,000 children were rushed to hospitals in northwestern Pakistan after rumors spread that some had suffered reactions to a polio vaccine.

The panic came as health workers were carrying out a three-day vaccination campaign in northwestern Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province, with authorities saying dozens of polio workers have been beaten or harassed in the wake of the scare.

Ongoing suspicion of the polio vaccine in Pakistan has been compounded recently by anti-vaccination videos circulating on social media.

Islamist opposition to all forms of inoculation grew after the CIA organized a fake vaccination drive to help track down Al-Qaeda leader Osama Bin Laden in the Pakistani garrison town of Abbottabad. He was killed there by U.S. forces in 2011.