疫苗佑护生命

开普敦—让我们的孩子和孩子的孩子在一个免受小儿麻痹症和其他可预防疾病困扰的世界中成长,这是我们所有人共同的梦想。但是,和大部分梦想不同的是,这是一个可以实现的梦想。我这辈子有幸见证了疫苗在保护儿童免受疾病和死亡方面的卓著作用,特别是在发展中国家。

疫苗对我总是有着特殊的意义。小时候在南非,我几乎因小儿麻痹症而丧命。当时——20世纪30年代初——根本没有疫苗可以对付这一高传染性疾病。不难理解,各家各户的父母都十分害怕小儿麻痹症病毒会像瘟疫一样前来敲门,几小时内让孩子终生残疾,或者(更糟糕地)几天之内夺走孩子的生命。

医生告诉我父母亲他们无能为力,于是父母亲开始准备我的葬礼。幸运的是我康复了,除了右手变得不太灵便之外。此后我迎来了灿烂的人生,但右手残疾时刻提醒着我消灭小儿麻痹症、确保所有儿童都能获得他们所需要的疫苗是一项无比紧迫的任务。

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