It’s a startling statistic: 1 in 5 children around the world lack access to the life-saving vaccinations that keep kids in the U.S. healthy. The United Nations Foundation hopes to minimize these numbers via a new national grassroots movement, Shot@Life, a campaign that aims to increase access to vaccines for children in developing countries (and thus decrease vaccine-preventable deaths) by educating Americans to advocate for and donate them.
More starting statistics:
- Seventy-five percent of unvaccinated kids live in just 10 countries: India, Nigeria, Pakistan, Indonesia, Democratic Republic of Congo, Ethiopia, China, Uganda, Chad and Kenya. For those kids, access to vaccines literally may mean the difference between life and death.
- 1.7 million children will die this year alone from diseases that have all but disappeared in the U.S. That means a child dies every 20 seconds.
- Pneumonia and diarrhea are the two biggest killers of kids under five, and account for more than a third of childhood deaths globally. Preventable diseases like pneumonia, diarrhea, measles, and polio disable or kill millions of children every decade.
Although it should be enough to simply want to help kids around the world reach adulthood and live healthy and productive lives, this campaign can also benefit Americans, too; the lack of access to vaccines in developing countries can harm those of us lucky enough to live in developed nations, as diseases that have been eradicated here, like measles, can return if we don’t help prevent their spread through vaccination.
To get involved, check out shotatlife.org, where you can take the shot@life pledge to add your voice to the movement for expanded access to vaccines or make a donation—just $5 will protect a child from polio and measles for his lifetime or a mere $20 will buy a lifetime immunity to protect from pneumonia, diarrhea, polio and measles.