I remember when my son – who is now 25, 6’5”, and still no fan of shots – got his first vaccines. It was pretty ordinary; make an appointment, show up in my car with the fancy, federally regulated child safety seat, get the shot (baby cries), pick up some children’s Tylenol just in case and finish out the day as normal. I didn’t even think of him at risk of dying from measles or polio, pneumonia or diarrhea (wasn’t that what Pedialyte was for?). I was worried about other things – organic or conventional? Homemade almond milk or store bought? Clemson or Carolina? You get it – but then I digress.
It was only when I came to ONE that I was slapped upside the head with the knowledge of how very blessed we were that immunizations are so readily available here – and throughout most of the highly developed world.
We were in the lead-up to a global reimbursement campaign for the Global Alliance for Vaccines and Immunizations (Gavi). I thought the name could use a little work, not terribly inspiring, and – while I still don’t love the name – they are now inspiring to me. Since GAVI was created in 2000, it it has supported the immunization of 440 million children and has saved more than 6 million lives.
Wow. And I never knew.
I think lots of us never knew. But Gavi is facing another replenishment – now. And the US Government still is not where it needs to be. We need help to fix that. It’s not just us who deserve see our kids live past five, get their first teeth, write on the walls, smear food in their hair. Every parent deserves that – as does every child. That’s what Gavi, the Vaccine Alliance is all about – ensuring that all children experience first moments and beyond.
Below are some recent photos from the Karambo Health Facility in Rwanda, where I visited last month to see the impact of Gavi first hand. These great shots were taken by me and Carl Forti, who was along on our trip to Rwanda.
Tweet at the White House TODAY and ask them to help save 6 million kids’ lives through Gavi.
Moms wait with their kids for the shots.
An immunization chart lets parents keep track of their children’s shots.
Karambo Health Center staff conducts immunization education training to all parents who have their babies vaccinated at the clinic.
The hospital lacks reliable electricity, so vaccines must be stored in a cooling container.
Gavi Representative, Hassan Sibomana shows ONE delegates the cold box that refrigerates the vaccines at the clinic.
Children’s measurements are also taken at the hospital. (“Mom! Get me outta here!”).