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12.18.2020

5 Reasons to Support Vaccines in 2020

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. 

On 22 September 2020, a girl receives the polio vaccine in Rawalpindi, Pakistan. The country’s first national polio vaccination campaign in September 2020 after a six-month pause due to COVID-19 reached over 39 million children under five years of age. More than 260,000 trained frontline workers went door to door and, in the context of COVID-19, were equipped with personal protective gear, to ensure the safety of children, caregivers and polio workers.

Here are 5 reasons to give to a vaccine advocacy campaign: 

1. Vaccines are one of the most effective interventions to better a child’s health. 

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.

2. Vaccines are one of the best returns on investment. 

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 childImmunizations are projected to yield a net return about 16 times greater than costs over the decade.

On 13 March 2020 in Fanisau Ugongo Village, Kano State, Nigeria, Fatima (right), 13, and her sister, Amina, 3, with their mother (not pictured), take part in a community meeting of local women lead by Volunteer Community Mobilizer (VCM) Laira Dauda (not pictured). VCMs are a vital relay in communicating vital public health messaging. Approximately 18,000 VCMs, over 90 prevent of whom are women, are at the centre of Nigeria’s polio eradication programme. Supported by UNICEF, they are from the local community and are trusted by parents and caregivers on information related to vaccines and other health practices for their well-being of their children. VCMs have also built critical relationships with traditional leaders, religious clerics and other local influencers to build trust in polio and other vaccines in the community. Nigeria has crossed over three years without a single child being paralyzed by the wild polio virus and is on track to be certified wild polio virus free along with the African region in 2020. However, the government and GPEI partners continue supporting efforts to immunize the country’s 55.5 million children under five years of age to maintain the ‘zero polio case’ status and rid the country of all forms of the polio virus.

3. Vaccines help ensure long-term economic prosperity. 

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. 

4. Now is the time to be a vaccine advocate. 

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.   

5. Vaccines protect entire communities and future generations. 

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. 

On 13 March 2020 in Fanisau Ugongo Village in Kano State, Nigeria, a Volunteer Community Mobilizer (VCM) receives a dose of the oral polio vaccine during a child naming ceremony. VCMs often take advantage of community gatherings such as naming ceremonies and other events to talk with parents and care-givers about vaccination and other healthy practices – and to vaccinate children against polio. Nigeria has crossed over three years without a single child being paralyzed by the wild polio virus and is on track to be certified wild polio virus free along with the African region in 2020. However, the government and GPEI partners continue supporting efforts to immunize the country’s 55.5 million children under five years of age to maintain the ‘zero polio case’ status and rid the country of all forms of the polio virus.

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. 

There’s never been a more critical time to invest in global health strengthening and childhood immunizations. Donate now until December 31 to DOUBLE your year-end gift!

  • Sydney Bonds is the Communications Fellow for Shot@Life. She recently graduated from the University of Maryland, Baltimore County where she studied Health Policy and Public Health. Sydney supports the Shot@Life communication team on our website and social media channels.