The week of April 24-30 annually marks World Immunization Week, a time dedicated to promoting vaccines as a powerful tool to protect children around the world from preventable illnesses. As we find ourselves in the midst of a global pandemic this year, this week takes on a whole new significance.
The COVID-19 pandemic has made it abundantly clear that viruses don’t care about borders and can travel across entire continents quickly. In our interconnected world, the health of those around the globe greatly impacts our health here at home in Illinois. Vaccines are one of the safest, most effective ways to promote better health globally and strengthen health systems around the world.
While we wait for a COVID-19 vaccine, we cannot forget diseases like measles, polio and pneumonia still pose an active threat to children’s health around the world during this pandemic. The good news is that we already have safe, effective vaccines to protect children from these diseases, but we need to make sure these vaccines reach the communities that need them most.
As you are quarantined at home, I urge you to take a few minutes to contact Sen. Duckworth, Sen. Durbin and Rep. LaHood to encourage them to support funding for global vaccine programs through partners such as the United Nations, Gavi (the Vaccine Alliance), CDC, and USAID. Now more than ever, we must work together to strengthen healthcare systems around the world to ensure better health for children and families abroad and at home.