[Baltimore Sun] Congress should commit to GAVI and childhood vaccinations | READER COMMENTARY

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Bravo to the Baltimore Sun Editorial Board for its reasoned support of childhood vaccinations (“Continued U.S. investment in life-saving vaccines is essential,” May 17). Bravo, too, to U.S. Sen. Ben Cardin for co-sponsoring a resolution that supports continued funding for the public-private partnership GAVI. GAVI to date has saved over 17 million children through locally-led vaccine programs around the world.

Yet in 2022, 4.9 million children under the age of 5 died due mostly to preventable health problems like diarrhea, pneumonia and measles. That did not have to be. We have the vaccines to prevent or lessen the impact of these diseases! And the vaccines don’t even cost much.

Later this year, GAVI will need renewed financial commitment. Funding for GAVI will not only prevent further waste of precious human capital, it will protect us here in Baltimore. In a world where people travel everywhere every day, Baltimore-Washington International Thurgood Marshall Airport, the Helen Delich Bentley Port of Baltimore, Baltimore Pennsylvania Station or any private car can bring disease to us.

U.S. Sen. Chris Van Hollen, U.S. Rep. Kweisi Mfume, and all the Maryland delegation to Congress, please support a multi-year funding pledge to GAVI. It will inspire other countries to contribute, too. When more children are vaccinated, all of us will be safer.

— Jan Kleinman, Baltimore

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