Cynthia Gorney wrote in National Geographic in November about the phenomenon of "vaccine hesitancy". She cites the example of Pakistan, where polio vaccinators were turned away or attacked on the basis of rumours that were, on the one hand, false (it was not true vaccines were a western plot against Islam) and, on the other, true (the Central Intelligence Agency had indeed used vaccinators to search for Osama bin Laden). She cites a further example where, in parts of India, a measles-congenital rubella syndrome vaccination campaign, one of the world’s largest targeting 35-million children, ran into trouble after anonymous posts on social media falsely claimed the vaccines were dangerous or targeted the children of religious minorities. Many people believed the erroneous posts, at the cost to their children’s health and lives. This is not the first or last time misinformation has been a barrier to effective public health intervention. During the Ebola outbreak, citizens of Liberia, S...

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