Discussion paper

DP15847 In Vaccines We Trust? The Effects of the CIA's Vaccine Ruse on Immunization in Pakistan

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.

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Citation

Martinez-Bravo, M and A Stegmann (eds) (2021), “DP15847 In Vaccines We Trust? The Effects of the CIA's Vaccine Ruse on Immunization in Pakistan”, CEPR Press Discussion Paper No. 15847. https://cepr.org/publications/dp15847