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Facebook blocked 31 accounts/pages involved in propaganda against Polio

28 August, 2019

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ISLAMABAD: After a vicious campaign was launched on social media against the polio vaccine, Facebook blocked as many as 31 accounts/pages involved in propaganda against vaccination in Pakistan on the request of the government’s polio programme. On Monday, rumours were circulated on social media that a one-year-old girl had died in Swabi due to the polio vaccine.

“Print and electronic media showed responsibility and decided to wait till getting the autopsy report of the deceased. However, an organised campaign was launched on the social media that the girl had died because of the vaccine and people should not vaccinate their children,” the Prime Minister’s Focal Person on Polio Babar Bin Atta said..

“As per the autopsy report, the girl died due to suffocation as a peanut got stuck in her throat. Just after getting the report we contacted Facebook and officially launched a campaign against those accounts which were involved in propaganda against the vaccine,” he said.

Mr Atta said that within one hour Facebook blocked all those accounts/pages so that they would not continue their malicious campaign against the polio vaccine.

“We are thankful to Facebook for cooperating with us. We have also taken the polio team members into confidence that they should share the pro-polio vaccine posts with those who hesitate to vaccinate their children due to the campaign,” he said.

During the current year 58 polio cases have been confirmed in the country as compared to 12 in 2018 and only eight in 2017. This year as many as 44 polio cases have been reported from Khyber Pakhtun­khwa and its tribal districts, five each from Punjab and Sindh, and four cases from Balochistan.

Polio is a highly infectious disease caused by poliovirus mainly affecting children under the age of five. It invades nervous system and can cause paralysis or even death. While there is no cure for polio, vaccination is the most effective way to protect children from this crippling disease. Each time a child under the age of five is vaccinated, their protection against the virus is increased. Repeated immunisation has protected millions of children from polio, allowing almost all countries in the world to become polio free.

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