Taliban polio vaccine ban may affect 280,000 children

The Taliban has imposed a ban on polio vaccinations that could affect approximately 280,000 children living in tribal areas of northwest Pakistan, according to estimates from the World Health Organization.

The ban on polio vaccinations was imposed by local Taliban militants in response to the United States' use of drone strikes in the region, CNN reports.

A three day nationwide effort to administer polio vaccines to children in both North and South Waziristan failed this week. Health workers and volunteers were not able to get the immunizations to children in the area.

"We're hoping that the campaign will resume in the near future," Mazhar Nisar, the health education adviser in the Pakistani prime minister's polio program, said, according to CNN.

Vaccination efforts are continuing in the nation, however, with 180,000 health workers and volunteers visiting communities in an attempt to immunize 34 million children five years of age and under.

Pakistan is one of three remaining nations, along with Afghanistan and Nigeria, facing polio. Pakistan reported 22 cases of polio so far this year, while Afghanistan has reported 11 cases and Nigeria 54.

"In a situation like this, any child who has not been administered for polio vaccine remains at risk," Nisar said, according to CNN.