05/09/2013 12:35 am ET Updated Jul 08, 2013

We Must Give Every Child a Shot at a Healthy Life


In the last 50 years, immunization has saved the lives of more children than any other medical intervention, reducing child mortality rates by 35 percent in the last two decades alone. Yet, every 20 seconds, a child still dies from a vaccine-preventable disease. We have an opportunity to make a real and lasting difference in the lives of children across the globe, and the services provided by Shot@Life are a proven tool in that fight.

As New Hampshire's governor and U.S. Senator, I have always fought to make sure our kids have the health care they need. Whether it is through expanding child health coverage in New Hampshire or ensuring that children in developing countries have access to the vaccinations and health care they need, protecting the well-being of all children is a fundamental responsibility.

We already have the tools to dramatically improve the global child survival rate. Because of programs led by the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID), the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), and partnerships with the Global Alliance for Vaccines and Immunization (GAVI Alliance) and the United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF), more children in developing countries have access to the life-saving interventions they need, not only to survive, but to thrive.

Vaccines have saved the lives of over 20 million children globally, but continued support from the U.S. and other global players is critical to sustaining this progress. As our economy continues to recover, we must work harder and smarter to make sure that our children continue to have access to quality health care.

We know how to save millions of children from completely preventable diseases, and the United Nations Foundation's Shot@Life Campaign works with both public and private partners toward that goal by ensuring that children in developing countries receive the vaccines they need. Shot@Life rallies Americans across the country to raise awareness of and support for the clear and measurable success we are achieving in saving lives through vaccines and immunizations.

We can't stop now -- continued support from the U.S. and other global players is critical to sustaining this progress. I am proud to stand with Shot@Life, because together we can help give every child a shot at a healthy life.

The Global Mom Relay is grateful to Senator Shaheen for lending her voice to this important issue and the Shot@Life campaign. This post will not unlock donations, but will raise awareness about the importance of immunizations. Join us by sharing it forward. For more information, visit The United Nations Foundation, Johnson & Johnson, BabyCenter, The Huffington Post, and the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation created the Global Mom Relay, a first-of-its-kind virtual relay with a goal of improving the lives of women and children around the globe.