At least 79 families here have refused to vaccinate their children against polio claiming it causes impotency, officials said on Wednesday.

“A total of 79 families have refused to vaccinate their children against polio in Phulwarisharief block, situated on the outskirts of Patna,” Piyush Kumar, a doctor, said.

“These families were not convinced and didn’t allow vaccination for their children against polio despite repeated efforts made by health officials,” he said.

A health official engaged in an immunization drive said most of these families belonged to poor minority communities. “Due to illiteracy and lack of health awareness, these families refused polio drops,” he said.

He admitted that it was a setback for the polio immunization drive in the State.

This is bad news for the ongoing battle against polio in Bihar. The State has been recording the second highest incidence of the disease in India for the last few years after neighbouring Uttar Pradesh.

More than 50 new cases of polio have been detected in Bihar in the past nine months despite immunization drives, a health department official said.

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