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Earlier this year, there was a measles outbreak in the Midwest, with infected patients visiting several restaurants in Iowa. Thankfully, there were no reported cases of this highly contagious disease, due in part to the power of vaccines.

The majority of patients who have caught the disease in past outbreaks were unvaccinated individuals who were vulnerable because of their lack of protection. This shows the specter of measles still hovers over the United States. Even though this is frightening, impoverished countries are much more vulnerable to this disease. Thankfully, organizations like Shot@Life fight for funding to help combat measles, along with polio, rotavirus, and pneumonia.

The measles vaccine alone saves over 20 million lives every year, primarily children. Currently the United States budget allots less than 1% to global vaccination efforts, yet this funding is the lifeblood for organizations like GAVI, UNICEF and the UN foundation, which all provide lifesaving vaccines to children who otherwise wouldn't have access to them. Additionally, diseases, especially highly infectious ones, are not restricted to borders. These programs help us protect citizens domestically, along with helping stabilize countries that may otherwise be rocked by disease. For every dollar spent, we reap $44 of worldwide economic benefits.

During this crucial election time, please contact your member of Congress and ask for continued support of these programs, which were excluded in the latest presidential budget, then reinstated by Congress.

Patrick Schwartzhoff

Davenport

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