Public health officials are furious after learning that the CIA used a fake vaccination drive to seek out Osama bin Laden. The Guardian reported this week that a senior Pakistani doctor was recruited to set up a vaccination program in Abbottabad.
Public health officials are furious after learning
that the CIA used a fake vaccination drive to seek out Osama bin Laden. The Guardian
reported this week that a senior Pakistani doctor was recruited to set up a vaccination
program in Abbottabad. The doctor, Shakil Afridi, has been arrested and charged
with working for a foreign intelligence agency, although it appears that he may
not have been aware that the CIA was behind the plot.
The CIA wanted to be certain that the world’s
most wanted terrorist was really hiding in the compound that they had targeted.
They had DNA from his sister, who had died in Boston in 2010 and they believed that
DNA from children living there might confirm bin Laden’s presence. A nurse entered,
but apparently failed to obtain any DNA.
Public health officials fear that the news will
fuel suspicions in Pakistan that vaccination campaigns are just Western plots to
spread disease and sterility.
“To take children who are in need of vaccines
to prevent some disease that could kill them and use that as a front for something
else is unconscionable,” says Paul Offit, director of the Vaccine Education
Center at Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia. “The end doesn’t always justify
And Médecins Sans
Frontières was outraged: “It is challenging enough for health agencies
and humanitarian aid workers to gain access to, and the trust of, communities, especially
populations already sceptical of the motives of any outside assistance. Deceptive
use of medical care also endangers those who provide legitimate and essential health
services.” ~ ScienceInsider,
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