Nigeria: Government vows to prosecute parents who reject polio vaccines for their children. These vaccines were suspended in 2003-2004 because Muslim leaders said they were causing infertility and it was a Western depopulation plot.
A Nigerian state that has battled polio outbreaks has vowed to prosecute parents who refuse to immunise their children against the highly contagious disease, a health official said Thursday.
"The government will henceforth arrest and prosecute any parent that refuses to allow health workers to vaccinate his child against child-killer diseases, particularly polio," the permanent secretary in the Kano state health ministry, Tajudeen Gambo, told AFP.
Parents would be charged under an already existing law prohibiting someone from denying children access to health care, he said. He said the law allows for penalties of jail time or fines, but he did not know how much for either.
Gambo said the government would also prosecute vaccine providers who refuse to report recalcitrant parents to the authorities.
"We have formed special surveillance teams and directed vaccinators to report any defaulting parent to such teams, and any vaccinator that fails to do that will also be prosecuted," he said.