KARACHI: A sensational news item aired by a section of the electronic media on Saturday about the death of a child in Korangi caused by polio vaccine disturbed the authorities concerned who said such ‘misleading reports’ could negatively affect the entire effort aimed at eradicating the crippling virus from the country.

Some TV news channels aired unconfirmed reports that a minor in a Korangi neighbourhood died after being administered polio drops during the ongoing campaign.

“We offer our deepest condolences to the family,” said Fayaz Jatoi, coordinator, emergency operation centre for polio in Sindh. “But we would like to inform you that never in the history of polio eradication has a child died because of taking the polio vaccine; the OPV [oral polio vaccine] is a safe vaccine which has been used all over the world to eradicate polio.”

Aseefa Bhutto-Zardari, who oversees Sindh’s effort against polio, tweeted: “There is absolutely no correlation with #polio vaccination and the unfortunate death of an infant in #Karachi as reported by the media”.

She asked the media to stop spreading ‘misconceptions’ and blaming polio vaccines. “It severely damages our efforts towards a polio-free Pakistan.”

Published in Dawn, January 22nd, 2017