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Worldwide vaccines

Had the vaccine for rotavirus been available for my daughter seven years ago, we could have avoided our two-day stay at Primary Children’s Medical Center. Now, the newer rotavirus and pneumococcal vaccines are making progress possible here and around the world. These vaccines prevent pneumonia and diarrhea, two of the most common causes of death for children under 5 years old.

The GAVI Alliance is a public-private partnership focused on increasing access to vaccines in poor countries. Generous donors have helped the GAVI Alliance provide immunizations to nearly half a billion children since 2000.

Not only has the GAVI Alliance saved millions of lives, it has also set up health care systems in developing countries. Of the 65 countries that have received support, 22 are set to “graduate” from needing financial support for immunizations by 2020. Also, by working with manufacturers and providing a larger market for vaccines, it has been able to decrease costs for these vaccines by 37 percent.

The U.S. should continue to do its part in supporting lifesaving vaccines worldwide with a $1 billion pledge over the next four years.

Debbie Baskin

Salt Lake City