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Ban On Thiomersal In Vaccines Would Harm Global Immunization Efforts

“Government representatives are meeting in Geneva this week to decide whether to introduce a global ban on mercury that could include thiomersal, a mercury-based preservative that has been used in some vaccine manufacturing since the 1930s to prevent bacterial or fungal contamination of multidose vials of vaccine,” Seth Berkley, a…

Experts Blame Lack Of Immunization Coverage For Pakistan’s Measles Outbreak

In 2012, measles “claimed the lives of more than 300 children in Pakistan,” with more than 200 of those deaths from Sindh province, and health experts and the WHO are saying “the huge difference in routine immunization coverage between the provinces, districts and cities is at the root of the…

WHO Recommends Switching To Injectable Polio Vaccine

“[T]his month the World Health Organization (WHO) in Geneva, Switzerland, proposed a shift in [polio] vaccination strategy from oral vaccines to injected ones that may have to be administered in clinics,” Nature reports, adding, “The change is needed to mop up the last remaining pockets of polio, but experts say that it…

India Marks Two Years Since Last Diagnosed Polio Case

On January 13, India “completed two years since the last case of the crippling disease was reported … a huge achievement for a country that as recently as 2009 reported 741 cases of polio — more than any other country in the world, and almost half of cases reported globally…

Vaccinating 46% Of Haiti’s Population Could Control Cholera Epidemic, Study Concludes

“Vaccinating fewer than half of Haiti’s population of 10 million should brake a cholera epidemic that has claimed nearly 8,000 lives and made more than 635,000 people ill, scientists said Thursday,” Agence France-Presse reports. “Using a mathematical model, scientists in the United States determined that vaccination coverage of 46 percent of the…

Pakistan Re-Launches Polio Vaccination Campaign Amid Increased Security

“Pakistan’s ambassador for polio eradication, Aseefa Bhutto Zardari, re-launched the anti-polio campaign in Sindh [province] on Tuesday,” Pakistan Today reports. “Aseefa administered anti-polio vaccine drops to infants in Karachi and distributed gifts among the children,” according to the newspaper (1/8). “The campaign in the city was halted last month after deadly attacks on polio…

Protection Of Health Workers Necessary To Eradicate Polio

“The murders of charity and aid workers in Pakistan has dealt a devastating blow to a national campaign to wipe out polio and other deadly diseases,” a New York Times editorial states. “No one has claimed responsibility for the most recent attack, but suspicions point to the Pakistani Taliban and other militant groups that have opposed the vaccination drives, calling them a cover for government or international spies, or part of a plot to sterilize Muslim children,” the editorial says.

Killing Of Polio Workers In Pakistan Is Major Setback For Global Elimination Drive

“The brutal assassination of nine grassroots level health workers in Pakistan, who were involved in a door-to-door immunization campaign in an attempt to secure children from crippling polio, adds an unprecedentedly grave dimension to the ongoing carnage in Pakistan,” Sania Nishtar, founder of Heartfile, Heartfile Health Financing, and the recently launched Sania Nishtar Health Fund, writes in an opinion piece in the Huffington Post U.K.’s “Impact” blog. “[T]he occurrence has deep-seated implications for the global drive to eliminate an infectious disease for a second time from this planet,” she continues, adding, “Additionally, it illustrates the nature of polarization, mistrust and extremism, which has crept into the Pakistani society, posing challenges on many fronts, beyond public health.”

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