Politics

Propaganda Against Polio Vaccination: 31 Pages Blocked By Facebook

ISLAMABAD – About 31 pages / accounts were blocked by Facebook after the launching of a malicious campaign on social media. These pages contained propaganda against polio vaccination within Pakistan and the government’s polio-programme requested it.

As the Monday’s rumors published on Facebook, the strict actions were seen by FB management and what was that rumor actually? It is about a girl, aged 1 year, who had died because of the polio vaccine in Swabi. When people see such news then they don’t believe on any government campaigns around the country.

Babar Bin Atta, the Focal Person of PM Khan on polio, told Dawn, during an interview: The electronic and printed media portrays responsibility when it took a decision to wait until they receive the girl’s autopsy report.

Notwithstanding, according to a well-organized social media campaign, it was stated, the polio vaccine caused the girl’s death.

However, the girl’s autopsy report revealed that she died from suffocation when her airways were obstructed by a peanut in her throat.

Mr. Atta said after they received the report, Facebook was contacted and an official campaign was launched against the particular accounts involved in the disinformation about the polio vaccine.

As per Mr. Atta, Facebook blocked all the applicable pages/accounts within one hour. Thus, they could not continue their vicious campaign about the polio vaccine.

He stated, they are appreciating Facebook’s cooperation, whilst they also told the polio team members in confidentiality to share posts which is pro-polio vaccination with the people who are reluctant to have their children vaccinated due to the campaign.

During this year 58 cases of polio were confirmed in Pakistan in comparison with 12 during 2018 and just 8 during 2017. The polio cases were reported as stated below:

44 Khyber Pakhtunkhwa & tribal districts

5 Punjab

5 Sindh

4 Balochistan

Polio which is a highly contagious disease, mostly affects children younger than 5 years old. The poliovirus invades the child’s nervous system which results in paralysis or can be deadly.

However, no cure exists for polio, but through vaccination children can be protected in an effective way from contracting this crippling disease. Every time a child younger than 5 years is vaccinated, the immune system is improving against polio.

Continuous immunization against polio has safeguarded millions of children against the disease. This allowed the majority of countries worldwide to have a polio-free status. However, Pakistan and Afghanistan are the only countries worldwide, where cases of polio are still reported.

The World Health Organization imposed a travel restriction on Pakistan which is associated with polio. Due to this restriction all Pakistanis who are travelling abroad, must have a polio-vaccination certificate.

Because of a propaganda campaign launched on social media, polio vaccination campaigns, were suffering. In this propaganda it was mentioned that the polio vaccine is responsible for various diseases. It also said immunization with the vaccine should not be conducted on children.

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