PESHAWAR, Pakistan — It is early morning in the month of Ramadan, and Peshawar’s Lady Reading Hospital in Pakistan is packed with patients. Rainaz has come back here with her mother-in-law and 1.5-year-old son Muhammad Ali, who she believes is still suffering from adverse effects of a polio vaccine he received weeks ago.
“As soon as he was vaccinated, the diarrhea started,” said the mother of three, who withheld her full name for safety reasons.
Muhammad Ali was one of the over 25,000 children brought into hospitals all over the conservative province of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa on April 22, as mass panic spread following rumors on local news channels that children had fallen ill after receiving polio drops. Like the other children, he was sent home because the condition wasn’t serious and couldn’t be linked to the vaccine.
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