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Letter: Why Vaccinations Are Failing in Pakistan

To the Editor:

The Washington Post editorial, “The Scourge of Polio” (May 12), mentions that Pakistan is “off track” in combating the disease. It also mentions that polio vaccination workers have been attacked but fails to mention what might be the key reason. In 2011, the CIA used a fake hepatitis B vaccination program in an attempt to get DNA evidence from the Bin Laden compound (the effort failed). Following this violation of trust, the Taliban announced a ban on immunization efforts and began a string of deadly attacks on medical workers. Scientific American notes that the blowback from this misguided program might well set back polio eradication in Pakistan for 20 years. This is common knowledge, and for the editorial to omit it gives a slanted view of the real issue in Pakistan.

Steven Thomas