Why is it important for us to care about global immunization issues?
"Vaccines are some of the most effective tools modern medicine has developed; as crucial to our lives as good roads and indoor plumbing. And the diseases those vaccines fight do not care about borders. The strongest immigration agency in the world is completely powerless to prevent the tiniest bacteria or virus from crossing its boundary. And so we must act to ensure that all children everywhere are immunized because what's good for children around the world is also good for our children and all of us, here at home." – Shawn Batlivala, MD, FAAP
As healthcare professionals know, infectious diseases have no boundaries. With our world increasingly becoming more connected, we must be aware of what is happening globally, specifically with disease outbreaks. One of the best ways to eliminate disease outbreaks or reintroduction of diseases in the US is to ensure all children in the world have access to immunizations. Keeping children healthy across the globe reduces health care costs associated with treatment of vaccine-preventable illness to the individual, family, and country. Additionally, immunization helps extend life expectancy and the time spent on productive activity, thereby contributing to global poverty reduction.
1% of the US budget is allocated for global health initiatives to improve or save lives of children and families around the world. This nominal amount is the difference between life and death for many children around the world. International organizations such as the
GAVI Alliance, a public-private partnership seeking to increase access to immunizations, have increased efforts to raise funds for global immunizations.
It is in the best interest of the US population to rid the world of diseases like polio and measles, which is why supporting and advocating for global immunizations is such a significant domestic issue.
Click on the
infographic for other visuals on the value of vaccines from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation.