Every Child By Two Partners With Shot@Life
May 01, 2012

Last week’s Shot@Life campaign launch was not only impressive, but extremely inspirational.
Several months ago, I learned how the Shot@Life campaign was focused on building awareness, raising funds and advocating for the millions of children around the world who do not have access to life-saving vaccines.
The message is simple, yet profound.

Every 20 seconds a child dies around the world of a disease that can be prevented by a vaccine… and we’re going to do something about it.

Personal Advocacy

As a parent who has been heavily engaged in the immunization dialogue for the past two years, I quickly identified with the Shot@Life message.  However, in the past few weeks, what has  inspired me the most about this campaign, has been the way in which the 30 other grassroot champions embraced this message.  Since we all attended the  Shot@Life volunteer summit in February each of these champions have found a way to utilize their time and creativity to bring the Shot@Life message to the masses.  All across the country, these everyday moms, dedicated professionals, interested educators and concerned bloggers have hosted special Shot@Life events.  From themed birthday parties and special events, to awareness walks and in-district meetings with their Members of Congress, they have each worked hard to raise awareness for increased global vaccine funding.   (If you’re looking for inspiration and ideas on how you can get involved, read all about what has inspired these advocates and the diverse ways they’ve been able to spread the message in the recent blog carnival featured on the Shot@Life blog.)
These individual volunteers were critical in directing attention last Thursday when, after detailed planning and flawless execution, the UN Foundation officially launched the Shot@Life  campaign at the Georgia Aquarium.   Thousands of volunteer advocates, celebrities, medical experts and some of the country’s most influential voices committed themselves that day to the Shot@Life mission.  From the Tout videos that were recorded at the launch and the overwhelming number of tweets we received during our three-hour “Celebrate Childhood” Twitter party, it was clear that Shot@Life touches upon a cause that people are extremely passionate about – children’s health.
Devi Ramachandran Thomas, director of the Shot@Life campaign explains,

“More than 100,000 people, including world-renowned photographer Anne Geddes and some of the most influential online moms, are activating their networks across the U.S. and around the world to take action to save and improve the lives of children. From Los Angeles to New York and Seattle to Miami, thousands of Americans are rallying to get life-saving vaccines to children in developing countries who need them most. Their time, their voices, and the money they are raising sends a powerful message that Americans understand the value of vaccines and are ready to rally on behalf of millions of moms and their children worldwide.”

Committed Partners

The fact is that even with increased global immunization rates, one in five children still lacks access to these life-saving immunizations that can protect them from diseases like polio, measles, diarrhea and pneumonia. The solution may sound simple – improve access to vaccines so that 1.5 million children in developing countries can be saved every year.  And fortunately, organizations such as UNICEF, the World Health Organization (WHO) and the Global Alliance for Vaccines and Immunizations (GAVI), are already working to accomplish this monumental task.   But now, through the creation of this Shot@Life campaign, this broad group of grassroots advocates, coupled with many dedicated partners, are fully committed to helping mothers and their children in developing countries get a shot at a healthy life.
Former First Lady Rosalynn Carter knows about the commitment it takes to improve vaccination rates.  Over 20 years ago, she co-founded a national advocacy organization known as Every Child By Two along with Betty Bumpers.  Although Every Child By Two was first created to improve childhood immunization rates amidst a measles outbreak in the US, the organization, through their new partnership with Shot@Life, is now actively advocating for childhood vaccines around the world.  As one of the prominent speakers in Atlanta last week, Rosalynn Carter helped kick off the Shot@Life campaign by saying,

“Healthy children help create a healthier world for everyone. As we know, germs and diseases don’t need a passport. Expanding access to vaccines strengthens our ability to fight disease globally and keep our families healthy here at home, while saving lives and improving economic stability around the world. I am honored and excited that Every Child By Two has joined forces with Shot@Life to educate Americans and advocate on the importance of childhood vaccines around the world.”

Other partners such as the American Academy of Pediatrics, the American Red Cross, The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, the General Federation of Women’s Clubs, Global Poverty Project, Lions Clubs International, Mocha Moms, Real Simple Magazine and Rotary International are all committed to working together to broaden American support for global immunizations.  They realize that  immunizations give children around the world a shot at more “firsts” and that keeping kids healthy is the best way to ensure they reach the milestones that many in America routinely celebrate and take for granted…first smiles, first steps, first birthdays, first day of school and more. These universal childhood moments have already begun to encourage Americans, especially moms, to support vaccines and give all children access to important childhood milestones.  Check out some of the touching milestones mentioned on our “Celebrate Childhood”Twitter party here.  The success is undeniable, with the #vaccineswork hashtag being mentioned 5,208 times throughout the week and 2,007 times on the launch day alone!
For more information on how to get involved and partner with the Shot@Life campaign, go to shotatlife.org or visit them on Facebook at facebook.com/shotatlifecampaign.  And if you want to be a champion for the cause, you can join a special webinar tomorrow, May 2nd, 3-4pm ET.  Simply visit http://www.soundpathview.com/ and enter participant passcode 395174.  Then call 866-805-0848 and enter passcode 395174. Can’t wait for more champions to join the cause!

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