Bringing Global Vaccines to the Point of Care


August 5, 2013 BY Dr. Francis Rushton, Jr.

My practice joined the Shot@Life in-office program, a partnership of the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) and the United Nations Foundation, to engage pediatricians in bringing the Shot@Life campaign to patients at a critical moment: when they’re receiving their own vaccinations. 

The AAP and Shot@Life provide educational materials including posters, information cards and bandages to raise awareness about global vaccines. We are enjoying using the educational materials (especially the Shot@Life bandages!) in my office. 

I got excited about the campaign after my good friend Martha Edwards (a pediatrician in Rock Hill, SC) told me about her "temper tantrums."  She was talking about her bright green T-shirt that says "More Temper Tantrums.” The t-shirt came from a wonderful campaign called Shot@Life, a UN Foundation global vaccination program partnering with the AAP and many others, whose goal is to educate, connect and empower Americans to champion global vaccines as a simple and safe way to improve the lives of children in developing countries worldwide.

Every 20 seconds, a child dies from a vaccine-preventable disease. For $20, a kid can be protected against four of the largest killers of children under 5—measles, polio, pneumonia and diarrhea. The campaign message is great: by vaccinating children all over the world, we give every child a shot at life-- a shot at having more temper tantrums, more food fights, more saying "mama" for the first time. Go to the Shot@Life home page [www.shotatlife.org] and read about it. 

Moms (and others) across this country are hosting "shot at life" parties and play dates and raising money for this wonderful cause. Martha and I are both  excited that many patients who may hesitate to vaccinate will think twice when they hear about women carrying their children for miles in the hot sun to get lifesaving vaccines. Especially when they can just hop in the car and go to their local health department or pediatrician's office to provide this miraculous benefit for their own child. 

The program brings attention to the fact that we have an interconnected world, and many countries have very low vaccination rates. This puts  unvaccinated children (and even some vaccinated ones with poor immunity) in our own country at risk. It's exciting to think that diarrhea may not kill as many children in developing countries and that we are inches away from eradicating polio for good. 

So help spread the excitement. Check out Shot@Life, like the campaign on Facebook (https://www.facebook.com/shotatlifecampaign), and consider hosting a Shot@Life party or play date at your house!

 

POSTED IN: Global Health, Vaccines

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