Launched in 2000, the GAVI Alliance is a global health partnership representing stakeholders in immunisation from both private and public sectors: developing world and donor governments, private sector philanthropists such as the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, the financial community, developed and developing country vaccine manufacturers, research and technical institutes, civil society organisations and multilateral organisations like the World Health Organization (WHO), the United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF) and the World Bank.
Their goal is to provide rapid and affordable access to vaccines for poorer nations. With the conference, they are trying to raise funds to be able to provide immunizations for approximately 243 million children in poor and developing countries. By immunizing against pneumococcal disease, Hib and rotavirus (all of which are prominent causes of child mortality in the target countries), among other diseases, GAVI hopes to reduce the number of deaths caused by these diseases.
But it appears there are some people who aren't too happy about that.
Yesterday, a reader let me know about some plans that some
I'm not really sure what their goal is. Clearly, they hope to bring attention to their claims that vaccines injured their children. But protesting a conference that is raising money to prevent the deaths of children? I really hope that I am wrong in thinking that they feel that autism is worse than the deaths of thousands of children from preventable diseases. Perhaps they should take a visit to some of these nations to see first-hand what these diseases are doing.
Actually, that's a pretty good idea. If they truly care about the health and well-being of kids, they should volunteer to help the children who are suffering and, yes, dying, from diseases like pneumonia and rotavirus-caused diarrhea. Of course their own children are more important to them than some random, unknown child in a poor (and likely not white) country. And that's why I think it's important for them to go and see, to learn a little compassion and maybe, just maybe, gain an understanding of the very real benefits of vaccines.
Oh, and if there are any reality-minded readers who will be in the London area on June 13, perhaps a counter-protest is called for. However, I will say that if anyone does go, be civil and non-confrontational. Provide fact-based information, but do not engage in arguments. Do not toss around insults. And do not provoke anyone to violence. In short, be the better person.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in the U.S. has a number of flyers, brochures and posters that may be appropriate to distribute or use. The Medical and Healthcare Products Regulatory Agency in the U.K. may also have useful information and publications.