Last week I was in Atlanta on a National Press Foundation and UN Foundation press fellowship to learn more about global vaccines. I along with the nine other fellows received a comprehensive overview of the global vaccines landscape from experts from UNICEF, CDC, the UN Foundation and the United Nations. I will blog about what we learned throughout the week. We also attended the Shot@Life official launch at the Georgia Aquarium last Thursday.
Shot@Life (who is a partner of Mom Bloggers for Social Good) educates, connects and empowers Americans to champion vaccines as one of the most cost-effective ways to save the lives of children in developing countries. A national call to action for this global cause, the campaign rallies the American public, members of Congress, and civil society partners around the fact that together, we can save a child’s life every 20 seconds by expanding access to vaccines.
Hundreds of Atlanta area families attended the Shot@Life launch at the Georgia Aquarium. Children played games and participated in educational exhibits about Shot@Life and parents were educated about the importance of ensuring that children in developing nations get the lifesaving vaccines they need to live a full life like their own children.
In an official launch ceremony Kathy Calvin, the CEO of the UN Foundation, moderated a panel of vaccine experts and advocates including First Lady Rosalynn Carter, CEO of Every Child by Two, Ambassador Andrew Young, Board Member of the UN Foundation, Dr. Anne Schuchat, Director of the National Center of Immunization and Respiratory Diseases at the CDC, and Anne Geddes, world renowned photographer and Shot@Life Global Advocate.
Each panelist talked about their personal stories and ultimate work with vaccine advocacy – either on the national or global level – and expressed why this issue matters to them and other Americans.
According to Shot@Life, 1 in 5 children around the world does not have access to lifesaving vaccines and a child dies every 20 seconds from a disease that can be prevented. There are some success stories already, however. Polio is nearing eradication with only three countries where the paralysing disease is still endemic – Nigeria, Pakistan and Afghanistan. India is currently one-year free from any reported polio cases.
Additionally, one billion children have been vaccinated for measles since 2001 decreasing deaths by 74 percent. And Ghana rolled out two new vaccines – pneumococcal and rotavirus vaccines - simultaneously last week during World Immunization Week. Ghana’s attention to the importance of vaccines marked the first time the two vaccines were launched at the same time in any African country.
Also announced at the Shot@Life launch was an official media partnership with Real Simple magazine. “In this role, the award-winning Time Inc. Lifestyle Group brand Real Simple is playing a crucial role in raising awareness about the campaign by getting the word out to its millions of readers,” said Elizabeth Gore, the UN Foundation’s Vice President of Global Partnerships.
To learn more about Shot@Life visit www.shotatlife.org.
All Photos: Stuart Ramson/Insider Images for UN Foundation