Lots going on this week in New York. I just returned from the official launch of Shot@Life, the UN Foundation’s new global childhood vaccination campaign. Check it out:
We are entering a period of budget austerity, where resources are stretched thinner and thinner. The idea behind Shot@Life is an effort to create a grassroots movement to support global childhood vaccinations. Peter Yeo, who heads the UN Foundation’s Better World Campaign and worked for several years on Capitol Hill remarked, “If members of congress don’t hear about this from their constituents, resources will flow elsewhere.”
This year, 1.7 million children will die from diseases that have all but disappeared in the U.S. Why? Because one in five children around the world does not have access to the life-saving immunizations needed to survive.
A child dies every 20 seconds
Millions of children are disabled or killed every decade by preventable diseases like pneumonia, diarrhea, measles and polio. Pneumonia and diarrhea are the two biggest killers of children under five, and account for more than one-third of childhood deaths worldwide.
Global health disparities
Seventy-five percent of unvaccinated children live in just 10 countries. For children in India, Nigeria, Pakistan, Indonesia, Democratic Republic of Congo, Ethiopia, China, Uganda, Chad and Kenya, access to vaccines mean the difference between life and death, a healthy life or a lifetime of struggle.
Immunity at risk
Germs don’t need a passport. With so many children around the world unvaccinated, diseases that have been eliminated in developed countries — such as measles — can return. Expanding access to vaccines strengthens our ability to fight disease globally and keep our families healthy here at home.
There is also a grass-tops part of this as well. Former Senators Chris Dodd and Robert Bennett (from Utah) are advisers and Shot@Life will lobby on the hill on behalf of sustained funding for childhood vaccines for diseases like Polio, Measles and pneumococcal virus.
I’ll be interested to see how this progresses. Disclosure (in case you didn’t already know.)