Pakistan Halts Polio Effort After 8 Killings in 2 Days

But some Pakistan officials determined to continue without UN support

By Evann Gastaldo,  Newser Staff

Posted Dec 19, 2012 8:05 AM CST

(Newser) – The UN and WHO are suspending an anti-polio campaign in Pakistan as the attacks against polio vaccination workers continue, with a total of eight dead in just two days and more injured. The latest attacks in the Peshawar region today killed a supervisor and her driver and critically injured a student who was volunteering with the campaign, the BBC reports. Other health workers were shot at, but not hit. Six workers were killed in attacks Monday and yesterday.

The UN has pulled all vaccination staff off the streets, Reuters reports. Pakistani officials say the immunization campaign is ongoing in some areas despite a lack of UN support, but many workers are refusing to participate and some are holding protests. Though no group has claimed responsibility for the attacks, the Taliban is assumed to be behind it. Immunization drives are controversial in Pakistan after the CIA ran a fake hepatitis vaccine campaign in order to track down Osama bin Laden.

A Pakistani child receives a polio vaccine from a health worker in a Christian neighborhood in Islamabad, Pakistan, Tuesday, Oct. 16, 2012.
A Pakistani child receives a polio vaccine from a health worker in a Christian neighborhood in Islamabad, Pakistan, Tuesday, Oct. 16, 2012.   (AP Photo/Muhammed Muheisen)
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