Pakistan’s polio epidemic aided by anti-vaccine conspiracy theories

If there was any doubt as to how conspiracy theories contribute to misinformation, one need only watch this NBC News report. Pakistan is in the midst of a polio outbreak and it has been fueled in part by Islamic jihadist groups that started rumors that the country’s polio vaccination program is a CIA plot to sterilize Muslims. Anti-vaccine groups here deny any culpability when measles, small pox or whooping cough outbreaks occur. But if the example of places like Pakistan are any example, anti-vaxx groups who make outrageous, untrue claims about vaccines causing autism or being ineffective are responsible for the deaths of children and people whose lives could have been saved by having been vaccinated. The same is true of Islamic groups who spread untrue rumors about vaccines as well.