Letters to the Editor

Remember the local importance of global vaccines

On April 15, the first measles case in eight years was confirmed in Iowa. The affected individual was reported to have been traveling and likely contracted the disease abroad, highlighting that outbreaks anywhere are a threat to children everywhere.

Access to vaccines may not be an issue for children in Iowa; however, many children around the world lack access, leaving them vulnerable to deadly outbreaks. Shot@Life, a United Nations Foundation organization, is working to increase access to lifesaving childhood vaccinations with the goal of eliminating childhood deaths from vaccine-preventable diseases. Diseases know no borders, and in an increasingly globalized world, diseases can spread from remote locations to population centers in mere hours. Increasing access to vaccines abroad not only saves the lives of millions of children worldwide, but also helps protect Iowans from the spread of diseases like measles.

Luckily, most children in the United States will not die from measles, however, children in other regions may lack access to quality health care and receiving vaccines can be the difference between life and death. We have the tools and the means to stop the outbreak of vaccine-preventable diseases like measles.

I encourage you to reach out to Sens. Joni Ernst and Chuck Grassley to ask them to prioritize funding for global health programs such as UNICEF and USAID that help deliver lifesaving vaccines to children around the world.

Katarina Newcamp

Cedar Rapids

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