ISLAMABAD           -          Special Assistant to Prime Minister (SAPM) on National Health Services Dr Zafar Mirza said on Sunday the government was taking measures to address the misconceptions surrounding the anti-polio campaign.

Talking to a private news channel, he said the government was keeping an eye on the material being posted on social media regarding polio vaccine.

He further said the government had prepared a coordinated and comprehensive plan to make Pakistan polio free till next year.

“Rumours and propaganda doing rounds on social media are creating misconceptions about the vaccine and have led to refusals by parents to get their children vaccinated against the disease,” he said, but expressed the optimism that despite the rising number of polio cases, Pakistan will soon be polio-free.

He regretted that anti-vaccine campaigns had adversely affected the polio programme, and hence had put the lives of children at stake.

“Parents should bear this thing in their minds that polio vaccination is a matter of our future generations and the present government will not allow anyone to sabotage the national drive,” he said categorically.

The SAPM stressed the need for making collective efforts to eradicate diseases like polio and Typhoid.

He said although increasing number of polio cases were being reported in KP, interior Sindh, Karachi and Balochistan due to the refusal of parents, the government was equally prepared to deal with the problem, and had chalked out a new strategy in this regard.

Mirza appealed to people to cooperate with polio teams and get their children immunized against the crippling disease.

He said social media giants such as Facebook, Twitter and YouTube would start removing anti-polio vaccination content from their websites soon.

He said the government was making efforts to talk with the administration of these social media companies so that all this fake content could be removed immediately.

The SAPM said the government would continue to work closely with the Facebook administration to identify and recommend action against users who spread hateful propaganda.

“Presently, there are only two countries Pakistan and Afghanistan in which polio cases are being reported,” he concluded.