I shouldn’t be surprised; my body mocks me. I’ve spent the past six months of my primary care clinical promoting pediatric immunization at well-child checks. I’ve endlessly emphasized the preventative benefits of vaccination against pertussis and influenza. A few weeks ago, I became one of United Nations Foundation’s Shot@Life Champions. Despite my efforts, it seems that I’ve become one of the 38%–that is, the percentage of flu vaccine recipients that still develop the flu this season (albeit, this is truly mild compared to what I’d be up against sans shot). It’s with amused irony that I write my first blog post on vaccination (and well, first post ever) while shivering in pajamas with a somersaulting stomach.
We may not always appreciate the world in which we live, but we take a lot for granted. We live in a largely shielded country of state-funded vaccines and CDC watchdogs. I’ll confidently wager that the kindergarteners of your community haven’t lost their lives to rotavirus, polio, or pneumonia–that’s the power of vaccination at work. Personally, I don’t remember my own childhood immunizations (though I bet my mom vividly recollects those trips, quite possibly with horror. I was a bit of a spitfire), but I’m ever aware of the life they’ve allowed me to happily and healthily live. Doesn’t every child deserve that chance?
February kicks off a month of Shot@Life blog posts documenting the crucial impact that global childhood vaccines make in the developing world. Follow the daily posts here and take a moment to consider what you can do to make a difference.