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Taliban opposes polio vaccinations

March 27, 2009 at 1:15 PM

ISLAMABAD, Pakistan, March 27 (UPI) -- Taliban militants in northern Pakistan are preventing 300,000 children from being vaccinated against polio, the World Health Organization says.

Extremist clerics are telling parents that polio vaccinations cause infertility and are part of a U.S.-sponsored anti-Muslim plot, The Daily Telegraph of London reported Friday.

Dr. Nima Abid, polio team leader in Pakistan, says it is urgent that the children receive vaccinations immediately.

"Polio vaccination is effective in the first three months of the year when virus transmission is lowest and so there is no interference with the vaccine virus," said Abid.

Four cases of polio were recorded in the Swat Valley last year.

Pakistani government officials convened a meeting Thursday in an effort to break the vaccination impasse between the Taliban and the WHO, The Daily Telegraph said.

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