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The worst story about polio immunisation may be lurking

The continued use of oral polio vaccine (OPV), whatever its scientific merits,  is high-risk in communications terms.  This is because OPV can cause paralysis like that caused by polio (although most cases of paralysis are unrelated to OPV). All developed countries now use inactivated polio vaccine (IPV) which does not carry the risk of transmitting polio-like illness. Continued use of OPV could one day — in the nightmare scenario — generate a media scrum with lots of adverse events (most unrelated to OPV) mixed up in one big series of scare stories. The venerable (and extremely well-informed) Hindu ran a very balanced editorial today on the subject The worst case is that other, much less responsible outlets seize this story and talk to some of the rabid anti-vaccine sources quoted by The Hindu.  Thus would start the media scrum

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