It’s World Immunization Week this week. While we can sit here comfortably and argue about whether our children need vaccines in North America, women in developing countries are desperate for access to vaccinations to save the lives of their children. Some mothers walk more than 15 miles just to get a vaccine. Others can’t get one no matter how far they walk.
Here are the facts:
- One child dies every 20 seconds from a disease that could be prevented with a vaccine.
- Seventy-five percent of unvaccinated children live in just ten countries: Afghanistan, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Ethiopia, India, Indonesia, Iraq, Nigeria, Pakistan, South Africa and Uganda.
- Vaccine-preventable diseases include pneumonia, diarrhea (rotavirus), measles and polio.
- Pneumonia and diarrhea, the two biggest killers of children under five, account for more than one-third of childhood deaths worldwide.
- Vaccines currently help save 2.5 million children from preventable diseases every year.
- One in five children still lack access to the life-saving immunizations that help keep children healthy, mainly do to funding gaps.
So, what can you do about the fact that children are dying preventable deaths?
The UN Foundation’s Shot@Life campaign asks you to reach out to your elected officials to ask the U.S. government to continue funding global vaccination programs. You can also donate yourself. Just $5 will protect a child from polio and measles for a lifetime. Fifteen dollars can ensure a child receives a vaccination for two of childhood’s deadliest diseases: polio and pneumonia. Finally, you can learn more about this issue and spread the word yourself so that friends and family will get involved.
Every mother wants to give her child a shot at life. Some mothers need our help and support to make that a reality.