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Mar 2, 9:54 AM EST

Pakistan police arrest parents refusing kids' polio vaccine

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PESHAWAR, Pakistan (AP) -- Pakistani officials say hundreds of parents have been arrested in recent days because they refused to allow vaccinators to give their children the polio vaccine.

Feroz Shah, a spokesman for the Peshawar district administration, says 471 people have been arrested.

A senior police officer in Peshawar, Shakirullah Khan, says he does not have an exact figure on the number arrested but that it is so far in the "hundreds." Khan said the arrests were made under a law against endangering public safety.

Authorities have made scattered arrests in the past for polio refusals, but such widespread arrests are rare.

Pakistan is one of three countries where polio is endemic, and the country last year accounted for the vast majority of reported cases.

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