The global pandemic has reminded us just how interconnected and interdependent we all are. Now more than ever, we need strong investments in global immunization programs to protect hard-won vaccine progress and build back stronger in the new year. As Shot@Life celebrates ten years of vaccine advocacy in 2021, we’re committed to multiplying our efforts to ensure children in the most remote and hard-to-reach places have access to lifesaving vaccines for a healthier, more equitable shot at life.
As one of the safest and most effective interventions, vaccines protect children from life-threatening and debilitating diseases. Each year, vaccines prevent about 2 to 3 million deaths, but 1.5 million more lives could be saved with increased vaccine coverage. Just 30 years ago, polio paralyzed over 1,000 kids each day. Thanks to the polio vaccine, cases have dropped by 99.9% and the world is now nearly polio-free. Vaccines work to ensure children have a fairer and healthier shot at life, but every child must be reached.
Your donation goes a long way for millions of children worldwide: for just $25, you can protect one child against measles, polio, diarrheal disease, and pneumonia for life. Immunization has a higher return on investment than many other interventions. The measles and rubella vaccine and polio vaccine cost less than $2 per child. Immunizations are projected to yield a net return about 16 times greater than costs over the decade.
Giving vaccines to children around the world is the right thing to do morally and the smart thing to do economically – for the U.S. and the global economy. Vaccines prevent disease and disabilities that can last a lifetime, saving millions of dollars on potential healthcare spending and within the health system. Vaccines can also save lost wages and reduce productivity loss due to illness and death. On average, every $1 invested in immunization produces $44 in savings in healthcare costs, lost wages, and productivity due to illness.
The COVID-19 pandemic has forced the disruption of routine immunization services, jeopardizing decades of vaccine progress. Even before the pandemic, childhood vaccination rates were low and vaccine-preventable diseases, such as measles, were on the rise. Today, 146 million children are now at risk of missing the measles vaccine due to disrupted immunization campaigns, and millions more have missed out on routine immunizations. Amidst the global pandemic, we’ve seen vaccine coverage rates drop to levels last seen in the 1990s. It’s vital that we work to build back stronger and ensure children are caught up on missed immunizations.
Immunizations protect future generations from potential outbreaks and strengthen global health security in an increasingly connected world. Vaccinations help protect others around you, including friends, family members, and colleagues. We all have a responsibility to commit to public health and to protect each other and our communities.
In 2019, about 14 million infants did not receive any vaccines and in 2020, millions more were left behind because of COVID-19. Your gift to Shot@Life makes a difference in the health and wellness of a child in need. During this holiday season, you can give where it’s most needed.