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Public Health School Deans Condemn CIA’s Use Of Fake Vaccination Campaign In Letter To Obama

“The deans of the nation’s top public health schools sent a letter to President Obama on Monday condemning the Central Intelligence Agency’s use of a vaccination campaign ruse in the hunt for Osama bin Laden,” the New York Times reports, noting, “The letter was signed by deans at Columbia, Harvard, Johns Hopkins and nine other universities.” According to the newspaper, “[t]he CIA has admitted hiring a Pakistani doctor to give out hepatitis B vaccine, apparently in an effort to get DNA samples from the compound that it suspected was Bin Laden’s hide-out,” which “has caused a severe backlash against vaccination in Pakistan” (McNeil, 1/7).

“Last year, [the Taliban] said that it would block the immunization process until the U.S. halted its drone attack on prominent Taliban leaders,” Deutsche Welle writes. “In the last month alone, 16 health workers, who were on a door-to-door campaign to immunize children against polio, have been killed in Pakistan,” the news service notes, adding, “The attacks come with a high price for health in Pakistan” (Bleiker, 7/1). “Security concerns look set to hamper efforts to deliver aid, and eradicate polio in particular,” IRIN reports, adding, “In 2011, Pakistan had 198 cases — more than anywhere else in the world, according to WHO” (1/7).