Letters to the Editor

Contribute to the health of world’s children

Being a retired “senior,” I recently received both a flu shot and a pneumonia vaccination. What a luxury, what a gift, to receive immunizations against these diseases which can be life threatening. But what about infants and children around the world who have a whole life ahead of them? Each year, 6.3 million children under the age of five, die from diseases which can easily be prevented through simple immunizations. In October, The Olympian editorial board encouraged the funding of vaccines for poor countries. GAVI (Global Alliance for Vaccines and Immunizations), a collaboration of The Gates Foundation, World Health Organization, UNICEF, and World Bank has been successfully immunizing children since the year 2000. Even with their efforts, only about 5 percent of the world’s children are immunized. In January 2015, GAVI is hosting a Replenishment Conference with world leaders, requesting $7.5 billion over the next five years. These dollars will immunize 300 million children and avert 4 million deaths between 2016 and 2020. Urge your legislators to write a letter directly to the Obama Administration encouraging the President to take the lead in funding GAVI. Or you can call directly to the White House (888) 869-8931 and leave a message. If our administration will fund $1 billion, other countries will follow and the goal can be reached. With this funding, over 50 percent of the world’s children will be immunized, and grow up to be contributors to their communities.

Helen Henry