Each of these deaths is a heartbreaking loss. But the real tragedy is that we know how to keep children from getting many devastating diseases. Vaccines save the lives of 2.5 million children annually. Yet too many children remain unvaccinated.
We have the responsibility to keep our children, both here in the U.S. and in developing countries, healthy and safe. We must work to ensure that they have access to the tools they will need – including education and health care – to grow into happy, productive adults.
The U.S., in collaboration with our partners, is helping to lead the way on improving children’s health. Programs led by the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID), the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), and our work with partners like the Global Alliance for Vaccines and Immunization (GAVI Alliance) and the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF), are saving the lives of children in developing countries every single day.
And we are making significant progress. We have decreased child mortality rates by 35 percent over the past 20 years. We have increased access to live-saving interventions, like vaccines, giving more children a shot at a healthy life. Vaccinations have saved the lives of over 20 million children globally, and we are on the brink of ending polio forever.
We can’t stop now. Continued support from the U.S. and other global players is critical to sustaining this progress.
The United Nations Foundation’s Shot@Life Campaign works with both public and private partners to ensure that children in developing countries receive the life-saving vaccines they need. Shot@Life rallies Americans across the country to raise awareness and support for the success we are achieving in saving lives through vaccines and immunizations, and I’m proud to lend my voice to this important effort.