Panicked parents broke down the doors of primary schools in Madagascar to take their children out of lessons as word spread that children would be given a plague vaccination.
The panic started when word spread that health personnel accompanied by police were touring schools to compel very young children to take a vaccine, and four children had died.
Parents even threatened the directors of schools with murder for refusing to allow the children to leave their lessons.
Although the media calls it a “rumour”, elements of the story give credence to the idea that a group of health care personnel, possibly from a foreign aid agency, may have gone to schools with police and they may have tried to vaccinate very young children without the permission or even knowledge of the health ministry.
Bill Gates and Angela Merkel participated in a simulation of a pandemic at the World Bank, which included the option of a “waiver” for “international medical teams who may not have work permits” to give vaccines “that may not be registered in the country.”
The group were described as driving a four by four and wearing white shirts.
Media report that in Ambodin’Isotry parents who went to schools did not find some children. Also, some children had injuries from jumping over a 2.5 metre wall. It is not clear why tiny children would become so frightened, that they would scale a wall of 2.5 metres to get out of school. The children were too young to understand what a vaccination is, say media.
It seems police were deployed to cordon off schools. Authorities claim the large turn out was due to a visit of the president.
The health minister tried to calm parents by saying that there is no vaccination against the plague and anyone who presented themselves as an anti vaccinator was an impostor. That suggests that there may be groups posing as plague vaccinators.
Police have started to guard the schools.
Whether there was a vaccine campaign by a foreign aid team or not, the reaction of the parents shows their scepticism towards the medical establishment and authorities.