Why you should care
May 30, 2012 BY Dr. Martha Edwards
This Mother’s Day, I woke up to three children with a breakfast tray and a framed photo of our family with hand-written quotes about moms and how much they love me. Sometimes I forget how lucky I am to have breakfast in bed with my children on Mother’s Day.
Moments like these remind me that some moms around the world never get to experience these milestones with their children. There are mothers in other countries who are walking miles to reach life-saving vaccines to protect their children from deadly and disabling diseases. We can help them get the immunizations they need to keep their families healthy by supporting Shot@Life.
I was recently honored to be among many inspirational women at Parenting Magazine’s Mom Congress in Washington, D.C., where we heard about the new Shot@Life campaign. One mother bravely asked the question others in the room had murmured: “Why should we put our dwindling resources toward helping kids in other countries when so many families need help here?”
As a mom and a pediatrician, the answer to that question is easy: Until we wipe out diseases like polio and measles all over the world, our own children will not be safe. We live in a global society. People travel for work, vacations, and mission trips— visiting countries where vaccines may be hard to come by. Some families in our own country choose not to vaccinate their children due to misinformation or fear, and as a result, put our own children at risk of diseases that can be deadly.
It only takes one unvaccinated child to bring measles into your pediatrician’s waiting room.
Just last week, the World Health Assembly declared the eradication of polio an emergency. Polio cases are down 99 percent. We are incredibly close to making polio a disease that can only be found in history books, but we can only get there if we continue to vaccinate all of our children, locally and globally.
Every mother deserves breakfast in bed on Mother’s Day, and every child deserves a shot at a healthy life. Global vaccination means just that: vaccines can save the lives of children in developing countries…and at the same time they can save the life of the child you just tucked in to bed.
Thank you for joining me,
Dr. Martha Edwards
Mom Congress Delegate, South Carolina, 2012
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