Tag Archives: Vaccine Ambassadors

Vaccines Change the World: MHA@GW observes National Immunization Awareness Month (NIAM)

In the interest of promoting more robust discourse around the importance of regular vaccinations for serious but preventable contagious conditions, MHA@GW is hosting a guest post series in honor of National Immunization Awareness Month (NIAM). During the month of August, we’re featuring blogs from thought leaders and advocates who were asked to answer the question, “Why immunize in 2015?” You can read an excerpt of Vaccine Ambassadors Executive Director Jackie Kaufman’s piece here, and be sure to read on to explore more NIAM posts. MHA@GW is the online master of health administration from the Milken Institute School of Public Health at the George Washington University.

“The absence of disease in our society has made us complacent. Without a direct memory of these events it is difficult to put this medical marvel into context. What many of us fail to realize is that our experience is the exception and not the rule. In many areas of the world where vaccinations have not become “routine,” parents and children continue to fear the very diseases we have forgotten. In 2013, it was estimated that 145,000 people (mostly children younger than 5) died from measles, a disease that has been preventable for over a half a century.

To be honest, it is difficult to find something fresh that hasn’t been said over and over again, whether it is a rehash of vaccine safety (myths versus facts), Andrew Wakefield’s debunked paper, conspiracy theories, or the motivation of big pharma. It occurred to me that we are continually taking the field in a defensive position, pushing back the false claims rather than creating our own narrative. We need to do better in conveying the amazing impact that vaccines have had and continue to have on our world. Parents, health care providers, and the media (no, there are not two sides) should resound with a common voice. Let’s move beyond the tired old arguments and focus on our messaging. The facts are the facts, but the question is how do we convey them so that they are meaningful and effective?” Read the rest of her post here.

Sophia Bernazzani is the community manager for the MHA@GW and MPH@GW, both offered by the Milken Institute School of Public Health at the George Washington University. She’s passionate about global health, nutrition, and sustainability. Follow her on Twitter.

Photo: Mobile clinic in Deschapelles, Haiti. Jennifer James

The Critical Stance on Raising Vaccine Awareness Abroad and at Home

By Lisi Martinez Lotz PhD, Program Director, Vaccine Ambassadors

Vaccine Ambassadors was created by parents and healthcare professionals in an effort to raise awareness about the importance of immunizations for all children, whether living in an area where vaccines are part of routine care or where this resource is far less common. By becoming Vaccine Ambassadors during their clinic visit, parents are able to give to the global community, while also engaging in a conversation with their pediatrician on the value of immunizations.

Our program speaks to the issue of under vaccination. In many areas of the world lack of access leads to low vaccination rates, while in others it is a direct consequence of misinformation. Vaccine Ambassadors offers parents a meaningful way to make an impact in the lives of children who otherwise would go without life-saving vaccines, while also highlighting the need for vaccines in our local communities.

Polio vaccination in POC 3 at UN House
Polio Vaccination Campaign in South Sudan Polio vaccination at the UN-House Protection of Civilians (PoC) 3 site in Juba, South Sudan. The Ministry of Health of the Republic of South Sudan is conducting the fourth and last round of its national immunization campaign for 2014, with the support of the UN Children’s Fund (UNICEF) and the World Health Organization (WHO) and working with local non-governmental organization Magna. The campaign is targeting children aged 0 – 5 years and aims to immunize 2.4 million children nationwide. UN Photo/JC McIlwaine

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Our 12 Biggest Highlights of 2014

2014 was a very good year! We partnered with leading NGOs and nonprofits to advance causes that mean the difference between life and death and quality living for the world’s poorest citizens. We traveled around the world to report on water and sanitation, newborns, maternal health, disaster relief, and health workers. We traveled domestically to report on some of our partners’ milestone seminars, conferences, and panels. But most importantly, we kept the momentum going to work collectively as mothers who use social media for good.

We very much look forward to 2015 and what it has in store. Here are our twelve highlight moments of 2014 – in no particular order.

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