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Global Health
December 19, 2012

Polio Lingers in Pakistan

JAMA. 2012;308(23):2449. doi:10.1001/jama.2012.128610

The refusal of many Pakistani parents to vaccinate their children against polio is the greatest barrier to eradication of the disease in that country, report researchers from Pakistan and the United States (Khowaja AR et al. Bull World Health Organ. 2012;90[11]:822-830).

The researchers surveyed 1017 parents of young children living in the country's largest city, Karachi. They also interviewed 30 parents of Pashtun ethnicity, who have the highest rates of polio in the country, who refused to vaccinate. Reasons commonly cited for refusing vaccination include lack of knowledge about the vaccine, lack of faith in the vaccine's effectiveness, misperceptions about adverse effects such as infertility, and fear that the vaccine may contain religiously forbidden ingredients.

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