In 2011, as the hunt for Osama bin Laden was intensifying and honing in on a region of Pakistan, the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) used a fake hepatitis vaccination campaign as part of its intelligence operation. The campaign went door to door, under the pretense of public health, in the hope of finding evidence of bin Laden’s hideout.
Such initiatives are not new. The history of vaccines in the Global South is fraught with abuse, mismanagement and deception. And the costs have been high. Vaccine hesitancy, particularly in the Global South, has led to distrust in what are safe, life-saving scientific advances for the treatment of some of the deadliest diseases of the past century, including polio, whooping cough and measles.
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