The COVID-19 pandemic has shown us what a world at the hands of a circulating virus looks like: in lockdown, heading into a recession, and with hundreds of thousands of lives lost. In Minnesota alone, we are seeing thousands of cases each day as we head into winter. As we track the development of the COVID-19 vaccine, it's easy to get mired in the science, the latest news, and even the misinformation around the vaccine.

But one thing remains clear: vaccines save lives. Globally, immunizations help save 2.5 million children from preventable deaths each year, according to the World Health Organization.

Strong vaccination systems also do so much more. An investment in immunization programs is an investment in global health security. As we are witnessing with COVID-19, diseases know no borders as our world has become increasingly interconnected.

Global health security – and US national security– rely on strong public health systems that can prevent, detect, and respond to potential disease outbreaks. Vaccine infrastructure plays an important role in this. As COVID-19 spread, the Global Polio Eradication Initiative quickly mobilized their resources and personnel to support the pandemic response.

As a supporter of the Shot@Life Campaign, I believe firmly that investing in global immunization programs--like the Polio Eradication Initiative and the Measles and Rubella Initiative--will protect children from vaccine-preventable deaths and protect us all from threats of future outbreaks.

Please contact Senator Klobuchar, Senator Smith, and Congressman Hagedorn to encourage them to continue support of federal funding for global immunization programs.

Lindsay Cobb, Rochester

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