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Student & Alumni Achievements

Student & Alumni Achievements

South Florida: Worth a Shot – Students Advocate for Childhood Immunization on Capitol Hill

Vaccines and immunizations have become a hot — and somewhat controversial — topic in the United States recently. But despite the debate, childhood vaccines remain an important part of maintaining herd immunity among the general population. Herd immunity occurs when a significant portion of the population is vaccinated against a disease, thereby limiting its spread.

Ms. Katherine Lesser, a second-year MPH student in the University of South Florida College of Public Health with concentrations in epidemiology and global communicable disease, and Ms. Jessica Garcia, a second-year MPH student with concentrations in epidemiology and global health, have gotten involved with the Shot@Life initiative in order to advocate for childhood vaccines.

The United Nations Foundation created the Shot@Life initiative with the goal of making childhood vaccines a worldwide norm. It focuses primarily on vaccines for measles, polio, rotavirus and pneumonia, and works on a daily basis to engage important people within state and federal governments on the issue of childhood vaccinations. The initiative organizes many fundraising campaigns throughout the year, and raised over $575 million for childhood vaccines in the last year.

Ms. Lesser, who got involved with the organization through her passion for vaccination, and Ms. Garcia, who found the organization through a flyer in the COPH, both participated in Shot@Life’s annual summit. This is the organization’s culminating event in Washington DC where its members, referred to as champions, advocate for immunization.

“Each year, over 100 champions from across the country gather in the Capitol to advocate for childhood vaccines,” said Ms. Lesser, “Attendees hear from industry professionals about vaccine progress and innovation, as well as the ins and outs of advocacy work in DC.”

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