One of the biggest hurdles in the way of the Polio Eradication Programme is the misinformation regarding vaccination. A video emerged on social media, where a principal of a school in Peshawar was pointing out that vaccinations are harming the children. Four students from the school were lying on a hospital bed without any movement before one of them tried to get up and was instructed while filming to go back to his position. Such campaigns denouncing vaccinations are a great barrier to Pakistan achieving its goal of being polio-free. While the polio agents are going from door to door to ensure no child is left without vaccination, the government also needs a rigorous social campaign addressing the concerns of the misinformed persons and encouraging them to vaccinate their children.

The Polio Eradication Programme in the country has been responsible for the decrease in the number of polio cases each year. Last year alone only two cases were reported but we did observe an increase in misinformation stemming not just from clerics but also private practitioners who were hoping to make an extra amount. The policy adopted by the last government in cases if parents refused to vaccinate their child was to not just fine them but also introduce jail time so that they understand the gravity of the matter.

With the emergence of this recent incident in Peshawar, it is important that the current government introduces strict penalties against those carrying out a campaign to malign the programme and prompting parents to not vaccinate their children. Pakistan is one of the few countries which have poliovirus still present and the only way to eradicate the epidemic is by devising policies which are not just limited to door to door vaccinations but also include social awareness campaigns along with penalties for people who spread misinformation