The end of this month is the World Immunization Week calling attention to the need for global vaccines. One and a half million children die each year from diseases that could have been prevented by a vaccine. To put that into perspective, that’s half the population of Iowa. One in five children in the world still lacks access to the childhood vaccines we take for granted here in the United States.
Great strides have been made over the last decade to give more families access to immunizations for their children. The measles vaccine alone has prevented an estimated 20.3 million deaths from 2000-2015, a 79 percent reduction, but there is still work to do. Immunization is one of the best investments we can make with foreign aid, every $1 spent results in a return of $44 dollars. This also helps us protect Iowans and service members from easily preventable disease.
The United Nations Foundation’s Shot@Life campaign is asking U.S. legislators to help reduce vaccine-preventable childhood deaths around the world by providing adequate funding for global vaccine programs. Call Representative Abby Finkenauer’s office and ask them to strengthen funding for global vaccine programs through partners such as the United Nations, Gavi (the Vaccine Alliance), Center for Disease Control and United States Agency for International Development.
Let’s help show the rest of the world “Iowa Nice” and help parents protect their children around the world.