As a mother, I can remember all the important milestones in my sons life. The first time he said, “Mama,” we were driving through Boise, Idaho. His first steps were in our living room. He stole my heart for the first time, the very moment I laid eyes on him. I am hopeful I will get to see many more milestones in his life. His college graduation, marriage, and eventually the birth of his own child, are just a few I would be overjoyed to see. There are millions of children and parents who won’t get a chance to see just one of those milestones, because they do not have access to vital vaccines. Measles, polio, rotavirus, and pneumonia are just a few of the diseases which could be prevented with very simple vaccines.
I believe that vaccines are a personal choice for each parent. I never second guessed my choice to vaccinate my son Gabriel. I just hope that if a parent chooses to not vaccinate, they would make an educated decision with their healthcare provider and without the aid of anti-vaccination propaganda. We lived outside of the United States in Bogota, Colombia. Hepatitis A, hepatitis B, typhoid, measles, yellow fever, and malaria are all prevalent in that country. Malaria is the only disease which cannot be prevented with a vaccine. We went to Bogota completely prepared. Parents in other nations would be willing to walk miles for a chance at getting vaccines, while people here often take those opportunities for granted. I was saddened recently to hear the story of a father in the U.S. who had denied his daughter access to the flu vaccine, and she died shortly after from complications of the flu. It is heartbreaking to believe that her life could have possibly been saved with the use of the flu vaccine. Last year 26 children died of flu complications in the U.S. alone. That could have been 26 chances at high school proms or drivers licenses that were lost to something as simple as the flu. There was 1.5 million children who died in developing nations of diseases which could have been prevented through vaccines.
|Gabe and I will the Presidential Palace guards in front of the Colombia Presidential Palace in Bogota|
The United Nations Foundation developed the Shot@Life program as a grassroots movement to advocate for and provide vaccinations to children around the world. They work in conjunction with the GAVI Alliance. They provide vaccination opportunities through various other programs and organizations such as the World Health Organization, World Bank, and United Nations Children’s Fund. There are so many ways to help through both donation and advocacy. Did you realize that $20 would cover the cost of vaccination for measles, polio, pneumonia, and rotavirus in one child?
It has taken me 30 years to discover my true passion in life which is advocacy. I would love to give a child at shot figuring out their passion too! What would you give a child a shot at? Please read more about Shot@Life at their website www.shotatlife.org