By Brad Galvan, American Red Cross volunteer
Although August is National Immunization Awareness Month, the American Red Cross’s work crosses international borders with its Measles & Rubella Initiative, the Red Cross partners with global organizations on this vaccination campaign aimed at reducing measles worldwide.
Measles, one of the most contagious and severe childhood diseases is very dangerous to those who are not immunized. The disease can be debilitating and even deadly. The only true method to prevent the disease is to protect children with the measles and rubella vaccine.
Jessica Tischler, Director of International Services for the Northeast Ohio Region of the Red Cross, said the goal of the Measles & Rubella Initiative is simple: Get children vaccinated to prevent the onset of measles. “It’s worked,” Jessica said. “With the help of partners like the United Nations Foundation, the Centers for Disease Control, UNICEF and the World Health Organization, more than two billion children have benefited by the vaccine.” She noted that there has been a nearly 80 percent reduction in cases resulting in more than 20 million deaths potentially prevented from the disease.
Locally, students at Gilmour Academy in Gates Mills have been collecting money to fund the measles vaccine, which costs $2 per shot. Since the start of their fundraising effort in 2004, the Gilmour students have raised more than $30,000. We posted this article about the efforts of the students last year.
All Northeast Ohioans can help protect children in remote villages across the world without leaving their state. Simply text PREVENT to 90999 to give $10 to the Red Cross, donate online, or call 1-800-RED CROSS. Your gift will help children receive the lifesaving vaccine against measles