WASHINGTON — Tomorrow on Capitol Hill, over 150 global poverty and health advocates from The ONE Campaign, the international organization co-founded by activist and U2 lead singer Bono, will meet with lawmakers and urge them to fight for vaccines for children in the world’s poorest countries. For millions of children, a tiny vaccination can make a difference between a life of poverty and one of possibility. Last year, 1.5 million people died from vaccine-preventable diseases, including 600,000 children. Later this year, Congress will vote on funding for Gavi, a global vaccine program that, if fully funded, will help save up to 8 million lives.
“At no time in human history have we had more tools to help prevent children from getting sick than we do right now. What we need is for Congress to maintain America’s historic commitment to Gavi and other global health programs, so they can continue saving millions of lives,” said Tom Hart, North America executive director for The ONE Campaign. “Tomorrow, lawmakers will hear directly from their constituents about why programs like Gavi are such an important part of global health and remind them that together, we can save millions of lives by giving children access to routine vaccines.”
“Threatened by civil war, I was forced to flee my home in Somalia for the infamous Dadaab refugee camp in rural Kenya. It was there that I lived for over two decades and saw firsthand the desperation, destruction and despair caused by vaccine-preventable diseases. I’ve watched too many friends suffer the heartbreaking consequences that come from not having routine access to vaccines,” said Suud Olat, a Somali refugee and Minneapolis, MN resident. “Vaccines save lives. But too many of my friends in Kenya couldn’t get them. My path to the U.S. was a difficult one, but now I have the opportunity to tell my story, be a voice for those living in extreme poverty and advocate for life-saving programs like Gavi.”
The upcoming lobby day is part of the annual ONE Power Summit hosted by The ONE Campaign. The three-day summit that will take place February 23-25 in Washington, DC brings together activists, faith leaders and college students for a cutting-edge training on advocating for the fight against global poverty and preventable disease. In addition to meeting with their Members of Congress, attendees will have the opportunity to hear from some of the political and policy figures who have led the fight against extreme poverty and disease.
About Gavi and Vaccines
For millions of children, a tiny vaccination can make a difference between a life of poverty and one of possibility. When a child is protected from infectious diseases, they can go to school, their parents can go to work, and their community can thrive. The world has made incredible progress in vaccinating children — in large part because of the global vaccine alliance known as Gavi. However, last year, 1.5 million people died from vaccine-preventable diseases, including 600,000 children.
Ending extreme poverty and stopping innocent children from dying of preventable disease depends largely on our ability to get life-saving vaccines into the hands of all who need them. We can help slow the spread of preventable diseases, vaccinate 300 million children and save up to 8 million lives if Congress maintains its full commitment to fund Gavi ahead of its replenishment conference in June. Learn more about vaccines here.
Quick Facts About Global Health & Vaccines
- Immunization saves up to 3 million lives every year – equivalent to the entire population of Chicago.
- Routine immunization currently reaches 86% of the world’s children. An additional 1.5 million livesannually could be saved if global vaccination coverage improves.
- Globally, more than 1 in 10 children (20 million) missed out on life saving vaccines, such as measles, diphtheria, and tetanus, in 2018.
- Nearly a quarter of all child deaths are due to pneumonia and diarrhea, both of which can result from vaccine-preventable diseases.