In Vaccines We Trust? The Effects of the CIA's Vaccine Ruse on Immunization in Pakistan

43 Pages Posted: 1 Mar 2021

See all articles by Monica Martinez-Bravo

Monica Martinez-Bravo

Centre for Monetary and Financial Studies (CEMFI)

Andreas Stegmann

University of Warwick

Date Written: February 1, 2021

Abstract

In July 2011, the Pakistani public learnt that the CIA had used a vaccination campaign as cover to capture Osama Bin Laden. The Taliban leveraged on this information and launched an anti-vaccine propaganda campaign to discredit vaccines and vaccination workers. We evaluate the effects of these events on immunization by implementing a Difference-in-Differences strategy across cohorts and districts. We find that vaccination rates declined 12 to 20\% per standard deviation in support for Islamist parties. These results suggest that information discrediting vaccination campaigns can negatively affect trust in health services and demand for immunization.

Suggested Citation

Martinez-Bravo, Monica and Stegmann, Andreas, In Vaccines We Trust? The Effects of the CIA's Vaccine Ruse on Immunization in Pakistan (February 1, 2021). Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3795231

Monica Martinez-Bravo (Contact Author)

Centre for Monetary and Financial Studies (CEMFI) ( email )

Casado del Alisal 5
28014 Madrid
Spain

Andreas Stegmann

University of Warwick

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