One and a half million children die each year from diseases that could have been prevented by a vaccine. This is because, shockingly, 1 in 5 children in the world still lacks access to the basic childhood vaccines we take for granted here in the United States.
This is a problem with a solution, so we must act.
Great strides have been made during the past decade to give more families access to immunizations for their children. The world is now 99 percent polio free, with the disease endemic in just three countries: Nigeria, Pakistan and Afghanistan.
We cannot stop now and lose the significant gains we've made. In addition to the moral and humanitarian impact, giving children around the world access to immunizations increases global and national security. In today's interconnected world, these deadly diseases don't stop at borders, as demonstrated by recent measles outbreaks and Ebola cases in the U.S.
Immunizations are also a financially sound investment; for every $1 spent on childhood immunizations, you get $44 in economic benefits, including saving the money that families lose when a child is sick and a parent can't work.
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. We recently marked World Polio Day, but its not too late to call the governor's office and ask them to strengthen and prioritize funding for global vaccine programs through partners such as the United Nations, Gavi, the Vaccine Alliance, CDC and USAID.
We all have a stake in the outcome, and parents around the world will sleep more soundly knowing their children are protected.