Being a mom to Molly and Frankie is, without a doubt, the most rewarding role I’ve ever had. As we prepared to welcome another baby into our home this fall, I was reminded of just how fragile and precious a newborn can be.
In recent interviews with Fox News and CNN, I shared my concerns over the growing number of unvaccinated children in the area where we live. It frightens me to think that my baby may possibly be exposed to a dangerous and life-threatening disease before he is old enough to be vaccinated himself. It seems unfair that while I do everything in my power to protect this delicate new life, others are making a choice that puts my child at serious risk.
I have real reason to worry. When my second daughter Molly was just 10 months old she contracted whooping cough (also known as pertussis). As any parent can relate, it’s scary when your child gets sick, but it’s especially upsetting when you realize that your child is part of the largest outbreak of whooping cough in over fifty years. As an advocate for Every Child By Two’s Vaccinate Your Baby initiative, I was all too aware of the fact that whooping cough can be deadly for infants, and yet here we were facing that terrible diagnosis. We were incredibly fortunate that Molly fully recovered, but I’ll admit that I was completely rattled by the experience.
Fortunately, since that time, scientists have been closely examining the possible causes for the large number of whooping cough cases over the past few years and have made recommendations aimed at curbing the outbreaks. Part of the problem is that the immunity against the disease is wearing off so that people throughout the U.S. are less immune to whooping cough. Therefore, it’s more important than ever for infants to receive all five recommended doses of the DTaP (diphtheria, tetanus and pertussis) vaccine, followed by the booster shot of the adult version of the pertussis vaccine (Tdap) at 11 or 12 years old. It’s staggering to note that 83% of infants who are diagnosed with whooping cough got it from a family member, most often their own parents. Therefore, adults need to make sure they get a Tdap booster before a new baby arrives to protect themselves and to stop the spread of the disease to infants, who are most likely to become seriously ill from the disease.
Most important for newborns, the CDC’s Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices took a good hard look at the pertussis research and concluded that we can best protect newborns by ensuring that pregnant women receive an adult Tdap booster in their last trimester of each pregnancy. By getting vaccinated during pregnancy, not only was I protected, but antibodies were transferred to my baby through the placenta, providing my baby with protection against pertussis before he could start getting DTaP vaccine at two months of age. So I followed my doctor’s advice and not only received the Tdap vaccine during my last trimester, but I also got a flu shot.
Just as I have the ability to protect my newborn from pertussis, I also have the ability to protect him and other members of my family from influenza. I’ve learned that due to changes in a pregnant woman’s immune system, heart and lungs, I was more prone to serious complications from the flu such as pre-term labor and delivery, hospitalization and even death. And, since children can’t be vaccinated against the flu before six months of age, everyone in our family must do all we can to protect our baby boy. With my child being born in the midst of flu season, I wanted to do everything I could to protect him from a disease that causes more than 20,000 children under the age of five to be hospitalized each year. I find it upsetting to learn that with all the medical resources available to us here in the U.S., last year’s flu season claimed the lives of 109 precious children.
I’ll admit that as a parent I’m concerned about the threat of vaccine-preventable diseases, especially as a result of people choosing not to vaccinate. But I refuse to stand by and watch as others put my children’s health at risk. By getting the flu and pertussis vaccines during my pregnancy, I felt empowered that I could do something positive to protect my child. And you can too.
Talk to your doctor if you have questions about vaccines. In addition, encourage your friends and family to utilize the resources provided by reputable organizations, such as Every Child By Two and the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists. And be sure to immunize yourself and your entire family.
Written by: Amanda Peet, Every Child By Two Vaccine Ambassador
Last summer I traveled to Kenya as part of a UN Foundation/Every Child By Two delegation to ensure access to vaccines throughout the globe. While there, our delegation traveled to a remote village to meet a little boy named Job Alphonse, who had recently contracted polio along with his sister and brother. Sadly, Job’s mother confided that she had not vaccinated her children at the guidance of her former spiritual leader. While three of her children had contracted polio, only Job’s case had caused permanent paralysis in his legs.
The community health nurses and UN staff explained that the family’s cases had galvanized Kenyans to conduct intense vaccination efforts to stop the spread of the disease in what was once a polio-free country.
It was heartwarming to meet families throughout the country who are truly grateful for the life-saving vaccines provided to their children, as well as the dedicated community volunteers who walk for miles to ensure that not one child is left without protection. Witnessing these efforts truly solidified my commitment to raising awareness of the need to support global vaccination efforts.
Today, the vast majority of the world is polio-free. Nearly 80 percent of all polio cases are concentrated in just one country: Pakistan. The two other remaining polio-endemic countries – Afghanistan and Nigeria – continue to show progress. Nigeria has decreased polio cases by 87 percent and Afghanistan has recorded fewer than 10 cases of this devastating disease.
Tonight I am proud to be taking part in Rotary’s World Polio Day Livestream Event at 6:30 PM CST. During the event, viewers will receive an update on the status of polio eradication, featuring Global Polio Eradication Initiative partners, celebrity ambassadors, polio survivors and special guests.
Please join me tonight to learn how we can all take action to help eradicate this disease from the face of the earth!
Amanda Peet, is an actor, mother, and Every Child by Two Vaccine Ambassador to the UN Foundation’s Shot@Life campaign which educates, connects and empowers the championing of vaccines as one of the most cost effective ways to save the lives of children in the world’s hardest to reach places. Today, Amanda Peet contributes this guest post as part of Blogust, an initiative including 31 bloggers who will each devote one day of the month of August to write about moments that matter. For every comment on this post and the 30 other posts, Walgreens will donate a vaccine (up to 50,000 vaccines).
When our daughter Frankie turned 5, it felt like suddenly a window opened up to her future. We were flooded with thoughts of how her personality would start to unfold as she grew older, and of who she could become. At 5 we started to get a glimpse of who that person will be.
Our daughter has an active imagination and is very observant. Once, when she was about 3 years old, we were looking out our window in New York, and some of the skyscrapers down on Wall Street were poking through the low clouds. Gazing out the window, Frankie exclaimed, “The buildings have beards!”
It’s becoming clear she will have an adventurous personality, especially when it comes to food — already eating mussels, fish eggs and gnawing away on chicken bones just like her father and grandmothers. She is not only adventurous when trying new foods, but she also enjoys traveling to new places with her active parents. All of this could change, and most likely will, as Frankie continues to grow into a teenager and eventually a young woman.
Our kids, Frankie and Molly, have a world of opportunity available to them. Like all parents, we don’t know what those opportunities will be. We are so lucky that our kids will have choices: the choice to follow their dreams and the choice to shape their own milestones. In many parts of the world, the lack of vaccinations means kids don’t have the choice or the opportunity to reach as many milestones.
A child reaching the age of 5 is a significant health milestone in much of the world; it means that the child has a much greater chance of surviving to adulthood. Today, we are in Africa along with members of the Shot@Life team to observe UNICEF’s vaccinations teams at work. We hope to help provide parents and children around the world a chance to experience as many milestones as possible. Because moments matter. And comments count.
A child dies every 20 seconds from a vaccine-preventable disease. We can change this reality and help save kids’ lives! Sign up here for a daily email so you can quickly and easily comment every day during Blogust. Stay connected with Shot@Life at www.shotatlife.org, join the campaign on Facebook and follow them on Twitter. Thanks in advance for your comments and be sure to encourage your friends to get involved as well.
As a mother and blogger, I can’t imagine anything more motivating to my advocacy efforts than to have the opportunity to hear actor, mother and Every Child By Two Ambassador to the Shot@Life campaign Amanda Peet speak about her commitment to vaccines this past weekend.
There have been many times when I have wished to be a celebrity. Not for the fame and fortune (thought undoubtedly that would be nice), but for the simple fact that celebrity status often affords one the luxury of an audience. And no doubt, Amanda Peet had an interested audience. Even if she wasn’t talking about what many would have expected.
In a session entitled Random Acts of Impact: The Power of Giving Back, Amanda, along with four other impressive women panelists, addressed a group of highly influential social media moms and women entrepreneurs at the Mom 2.0 Summit in California on Saturday. She explained how she uses her celebrity as a platform and is working to bring awareness of the importance of childhood vaccines. She emphasized how powerful it would be if others would also use their social media platforms to help promote immunizations and the Shot@Life campaign.
Her words were passionate, but what really spoke volumes were her actions. Amanda talked about how she began working with Every Child by Two on their Vaccinate Your Baby campaign over five years ago. At the time, Amanda was expecting her first child. While others were using their celebrity status to question the safety of vaccines, Amanda decided to take her questions directly to the medical experts and look at what the science had to say. After having her many questions answered and discovering various reputable sources such as the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia (CHOP) and Every Child By Two, she realized just how important it was for children to receive all their recommended vaccines and she decided she that she wanted to help get the message out to others. Read more…
Whether it’s a phone call from a telemarketer, a child at your doorstep or a letter from the local school, there are always plenty of well-deserving organizations looking for donations in our communities.
But today, we are not asking for your money. In fact, we’ll get the money from someone else.
All we are asking for is your support! And all it takes is a click and a share!
Today (and everyday through the end of the month) you can unlock the potential to make a $5 donation to the Shot@Life campaign by simply sharing an article from the Global Moms Relay through Facebook, Twitter or Email. Thanks to the generosity of large donors such as Johnson & Johnson and the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, a simply share of one of the many featured articles in this program will result in a donation to help moms and children lead healthy lives and help immunize children against preventable diseases like measles and polio. What’s even better is that you can share multiple articles, multiple times through various social media channels to help contribute to the overall $500,000 donation!
Share the article “Motherhood Transcends Borders and Cultures” by Amanda Peet, mother, actor, and Every Child by Two Vaccine Ambassador to the Shot@Life campaign by clicking on this link here. Read more…
I am grateful that as a parent here in the United States, I’ve never worried about my child suffering from polio. However it wasn’t that long ago that parents, even in the U.S., were consumed with worry. As I read Elizabeth Atalay’s article on the World Mom’s Blog recently, I realized my own parents could have been among those who suffered from polio. And while polio may not be a concern to parents in the U.S. these days, we only have to look at our global brothers and sisters to understand why we must continue our efforts to eradicate this crippling disease.
Currently, Nigeria is the world’s most endemic country for polio, followed by Pakistan and Afghanistan. According to data from the Global Polio Eradication Initiative (GPEI), the total number of wild polio cases in 2012 was 222, with Nigeria having the highest number of 121.
Fortunately, eradicating polio has been a priority of Rotary International since 1985. When Rotary began the fight to end this disease, polio infected nearly 350,000 people – mostly children – in 125 countries every year. Since then, the number of polio cases has plummeted by more than 99%.
Looking back, 2012 was a historic year in the fight to end polio:
• 429 million children were vaccinated against polio.
• The year ended with the fewest wild polio cases, in the fewest places ever in history.
• Less than 300 polio cases were reported in 2012 – 60% less than 2011.
• India celebrates two years polio-free this month
So now, after nearly 30 years, and more than 2 billion children immunized against polio, Rotary and its partners are on the brink of making history. To help in the ongoing fight, Rotary is asking everyone to join in the World’s Biggest Commercial.
During the hustle and bustle of the holiday season, parents eagerly snatch up sales on the latest kids’ craze and scour stores shelves for those treasured gifts and best bargains. While we try to stretch our funds in order to give abundantly, we often lose sight of how easy it is to give of ourselves. We can easily become focused on the need to acquire gifts for others, that we lose sight of the gifts that often mean the most… those priceless gifts of thanks and appreciation.
This season, Every Child By Two’s Vaccinate Your Baby team wants to show our appreciation to those of you who work so hard in support of childhood immunizations. We hope you will join us in our pledge to give to those who keep us healthy, who need our protection and who need our help.
Give to those who keep us healthy.
Every Child By Two appreciates the dedication and support of countless scientists, researchers, public health employees, medical professionals and health care workers who create, provide and promote immunizations within our communities.
Do you think the nurse likes to administer the shot that makes your child cry? Do you think the public health employee wants to report that an infant has just died as a result of a pertussis outbreak in your area? Do you think the school nurse enjoys wading through countless documents to ensure students are all up-to-date on their vaccines?
The fact is that many people work diligently to protect us from dangerous and sometimes deadly diseases. So on #GivingTuesday, we want to say thank you.
There’s no need to buy a gift or bake cookies (though I’m sure those things would be appreciated). Instead, involve your child in creating a work of art using this fun coloring page from Every Child By Two. Then simply mail it to those people who help keep your family healthy. Or better yet, hand deliver it. You might want to include your local pharmacist, health department, school nurse, family physician or anyone who gives the gift of health and immunizations. Read more…