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Vaccines: A life saver

While doing my usual web surfing for some blog inspiration, I came across some startling facts. Did you know that 1/3 of childhood deaths (that’s nearly 3 million a year) are caused by pneumonia or diarrhea?

That’s more young lives lost than HIV/Aids, Tuberculosis and Malaria combined. Although pneumonia or diarrhea is usually not life threatening to children in the western world, they can be a death sentence to children in poor countries.

Along with its partners, Global Alliance for Vaccines and Immunizations (GAVI) has prevented 5.4 million child deaths since 2000 by increasing developing countries’ access to vaccines.  GAVI has assisted in the immunization of 288 million children since its launch.

GAVI is currently providing 67 countries with Hepatitis B vaccines for children. They are now preparing to deliver two new vaccines (pneumococcal vaccine and rotavirus vaccine) to fight the top 2 killers of children in developing countries.

Vaccines are often called the “best buy in public health” because they are effective, easy to administer and are a cost effective way to save lives and prevent future disease for an entire lifetime.  Vaccinations protect against preventable death, reduce the chances of future illness and disability. They often make it possible for adults and children to go to school and work, allowing them to contribute to their community. They also contribute to savings on health costs by lowering the amount of clinic visits and hospitalizations needed.

The facts:

  • Vaccines have contributed to cutting childhood deaths in half since 1960;
  • Deaths caused by the measles are down by 92% in Africa between 2000 and 2008;
  • Small pox has been abolished;
  • Polio is only endemic in 4 countries, compared to the 125 countries in 1988.

It’s scary to think that such common illnesses can steal so many young lives. Imagine the hopelessness these parents feel when their children are literally dying in their arms and they have no way to help them. We are so lucky to have access to the medical care we have here in Canada. Many others aren’t as fortunate.

For more information on how you can support the Global Alliance for Vaccines and Immunizations, and the work they do please visit:


Until next time,

Peace, love and vitamin C!



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