The CIA’s Fake Vaccination Fumble

7b4g7My new Daily Caller piece addresses reports that the CIA created a fake vaccination program as part of its operation to find Osama bin Laden.

Like most every other American, I’m thrilled that bin Laden was finally found. This otherwise remarkable operation, however, surely could have been done without undermining global health. Vaccines are vital to preventing the spread of disease and, as I wrote in the DC, the CIA’s scheme plays into already lingering distrust for vaccines in the Muslim world:

Despite what should be incontrovertible science, vaccination opponents continue to spread fear about the safety of vaccines. The distrust and doubt they’ve created has cost countless lives, both in the U.S. and globally.

The distrust of vaccines stems not only from the disproven allegations about their safety, but also from conspiracy theorists seeking to undermine trust in global health initiatives. One widely held conspiracy theory is that vaccination programs are a way to sterilize women in developing countries. Another common conspiracy theory is that the World Health Organization introduced AIDS to African countries through a vaccination program.

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