Long before COVID-19, international institutions and local communities have worked together to harness the power of vaccines to protect and save lives. The United Nations Foundation’s Shot@Life grassroots advocacy campaign is one such example. By rallying the public, members of Congress, businesses, and civil society members, Shot@Life works to increase support and investments in global immunization programs for all people, especially children. This spring, Sydney Perlotto, YSPH ’24, was selected by Shot@Life to serve as a global immunization champion, receiving support from YIGH in March to attend the annual Summit in Washington, DC. The first in-person Summit since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, Perlotto had the opportunity to learn directly from experts like UNICEF Executive Director Catherine Russell, JHU epidemiologist and social media influencer Jessica Malaty-Rivera, CDC Immunization Systems Branch Chief Dr. David Fitter, and many others.
Perlotto also worked with fellow delegates from Connecticut to express the importance of investing in global immunization programs, meeting with the offices of Senator Chris Murphy, Senator Richard Blumenthal, and Representative Rosa DeLauro. Reflecting on the experience, Perlotto shared that “the Summit allowed me to apply my prior immunization work experience and YSPH coursework, like the Global Health Seminar and Vaccine Policy and Politics, to a new context: U.S. Congressional advocacy. I greatly enjoyed speaking with staffers on Capitol Hill to share how robust routine immunization programs can help bolster local health systems, especially following pandemic-related disruptions to childhood vaccines and other health services.”