To the editor:

More than a million children die each year from diseases that could have been prevented by a vaccine. This is because, shockingly, one in five children in the world still lacks access to the basic childhood vaccines that we take for granted here in the United States. This is a problem with a solution, so we must act!

Great strides have been made over the last decade to give more families access to immunizations for their children. The measles vaccine alone has prevented an estimated 20.3 million deaths from 2000-15, a 79 percent reduction! We cannot stop now and lose the significant gains we’ve made.

In addition to the moral and humanitarian impact, giving children around the world access to immunizations increases global and national security. In today’s interconnected world, these deadly diseases don’t stop at borders. Immunizations are also a financially sound investment: for every dollar spent on childhood immunizations, you get $44 in economic benefits, according to a study published in the February 2016 issue of Health Affairs.

That includes saving the money that families lose when a child is sick, so a parent can’t work.

The United Nations Foundation’s Shot@Life campaign is asking U.S. legislators to help reduce vaccine-preventable childhood deaths around the world by providing adequate funding for global vaccine programs.

Please call your elected officials and ask them to strengthen and prioritize funding for global vaccine programs through partners such as the United Nations, Gavi, the Vaccine Alliance, CDC and USAID.

We all have a stake in the outcome, and parents around the world will sleep more soundly, knowing their children are protected. Together, we can help put an end to vaccine-preventable deaths.

Matthew Pope