Ukraine warns of epidemics as public shuns vax

Health officials in the Ukraine say that unjustified fears about the potential side effects associated with vaccines has caused hundreds of thousands of people to decide against guarding themselves from a slate of diseases. And now they'll have to incinerate large quantities of vaccines as physicians warn of possible epidemics.

"I never thought I'd see the day where perfectly good vaccines are being destroyed," Michael Bociurkiw, a spokesman for UNICEF, told the AP.

The public reaction against the country's vaccine programs began after the death of a 17-year-old youth was blamed on a revaccination program underway for measles and rubella. The authorities stopped to investigate and later blamed the death on septic shock from an unrelated source. Now the country says the revaccination effort will be halted as people would refuse the vaccine in any case.

"This threatens to lead to a spike in the number of infectious diseases," said Lyudmyla Mukharskaya, the country's deputy chief public health official. "There will be outbreaks, especially among children."

- read the AP report