Upon this one-year anniversary of the COVID-19 pandemic shut down in the U.S., it is hard to believe how dramatically our lives have been altered by this deadly, infectious disease. Thankfully, as vaccine approval and distribution picks up speed, we are beginning to see light at the end of the tunnel. Thank you, vaccine scientists and public health officials!
Our challenge now is to ensure everyone in the world has access to lifesaving vaccines that will protect them from COVID-19 and other infectious childhood diseases. This pandemic has reminded us that infectious diseases do not stop at country borders and all people deserve access to vaccines that will protect them. For this reason, Shot@Life will continue to leverage our network of grassroots advocates to ensure investments in global immunization infrastructure and programs remain a top priority.
Made possible by the continued support of our donors, here is a roundup of what Shot@Life and our UN partners have been up to recently:
We asked members of the public to contact their members of Congress:
“This Is Our Shot: Defeating COVID-19 Around the World” Webinar [Feb 21] Shot@Life co-hosted this virtual event, open to the general public, with UNICEF and UNICEF USA. UNICEF’s Henrietta Fore and Robin Nandy, professional basketball player Jeremy Lin, global parenting expert Jo Frost, and Shot@Life’s Martha Rebour spoke about the important role grassroots advocates play when it comes to ensuring global, equitable access to vaccines – for both COVID-19 and childhood vaccines. Hundreds of people were inspired to sign our petition to ask their members of Congress to robustly fund global childhood immunization programs. If you missed it, you can watch the webinar recording here.
We held our 10th Annual Champion Summit and Lobby Day:
Shot@Life successfully hosted its 10th annual Champion Summit [Feb 22-23] in a fully virtual format in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic. A record 185 grassroots advocates (or “champions”) participated this year – representing 35 states, DC, and Puerto Rico – and were students, parents, nurses, pharmacists, and community leaders of all ages.
On Day 1, Shot@Life champions honed their advocacy skills and heard from global health experts from U.S. CDC, Africa CDC, Gavi the Vaccine Alliance, WHO, the Gates Foundation, UNICEF, Pfizer, and more. On Day 2, they met with 180 Congressional offices — another campaign record — to ask for robust support in the federal budget for global immunization programs. Fourteen members of Congress joined the virtual meetings, which is a testament to the campaign’s reputation for having savvy, passionate advocates with reliable information. The vast majority of offices expressed overwhelming support for these investments that will save lives.
You can hear from some of our fantastic champions in this video we created to thank them for 10 years of fighting for all the world’s children to have access to vaccines!
Our UN partners began to deliver on a promise that people in all countries will be given access to COVID-19 vaccines:
For the past year, the World Health Organization [WHO], Gavi the Vaccine Alliance, and other global health organizations have been working together on the global “COVAX” [COVID vaccine] effort to ensure COVID-19 vaccines are equitably distributed to all countries around the world – that is, not just in high income countries that can dominate the marketplace. Not only do we believe all people deserve access to lifesaving vaccines no matter where they live, it is also strategically imperative to combat a global pandemic on a truly global basis. We cannot allow the coronavirus, or any infectious disease, to run rampant anywhere on this earth because it will mutate and cycle back around in harder-to-beat versions.
We are thrilled to report the first vaccines procured by COVAX for distribution in resource-challenged countries arrived in Ghana and Côte d’Ivoire on March 1. The deliveries mark the start of what will be the largest, most rapid, and complex global rollout of vaccines in history. In total, COVAX aims to deliver at least 2 billion doses of COVID-19 vaccines by the end of 2021, including at least 1.3 billion to 92 resource-challenged countries eligible for support through this effort.
Our grassroots advocates are getting ready to raise their voices throughout the month of April:
Shot@Life is preparing our champions and supporters to collectively raise their/your voices throughout the month of April during our Spring advocacy activation, called “Advocate2Vaccinate.” By collectively and simultaneously engaging with members of Congress in many ways throughout the month, Shot@Life champions’ voices will be heard by members of Congress and the message will be that they want the U.S. government to robustly fund global immunization programs in the federal budget! The activation ends with the WHO’s World Immunization Week [April 24-30] with the theme “Vaccines Bring Us Closer.” You can join our champions and easily add your voice to the chorus by signing our Shot@Life petition.
We thank you for your continued support as the Shot@Life campaign and our champions could not do any of this without you. This is an incredibly important year for global immunization programs and, together, we will continue to fight for all children and people to have access to lifesaving vaccines!