Skip to main content

Cookies and Privacy

We use cookies to improve your experience on our website. To find out more, read our updated Cookie policy, Privacy policy and Terms & Conditions

Vaccination’s Lifetime of Blessings

This week marks the world’s first global summit dedicated to ensuring that children everywhere have access to the full benefits of vaccines. The summit builds on a commitment made last year by nearly 200 countries to eradicate polio, develop new and improved vaccines at affordable prices, and immunize every child by 2020.

CAPE TOWN – A world in which our children and their children grow up free from the threat of polio and other preventable diseases is a dream that everyone shares. But, unlike most dreams, this one is achievable. Over my lifetime, I have been fortunate to witness the extraordinary impact that vaccines have had on protecting children from illness and death – especially in the developing world.

Vaccines have always had a special meaning for me. As a young child in South Africa, I nearly died from polio. Back then – in the early 1930’s – there was no vaccine for this highly infectious disease. With good reason, parents everywhere were terrified that poliovirus would reach their doorstep – like a plague – striking a child and causing irreversible paralysis in a matter of hours, or, worse, death in a matter of days.

The doctors told my parents that little could be done for me, so my father prepared for my funeral. Fortunately, I recovered, except for the use of my right hand. I have gone on to live a wonderful life, but the paralysis in my hand is a daily reminder of why we must urgently pursue the eradication of polio and ensure that all children have access to the vaccines that they need.

We hope you're enjoying Project Syndicate.

To continue reading, subscribe now.

Subscribe

Get unlimited access to PS premium content, including in-depth commentaries, book reviews, exclusive interviews, On Point, the Big Picture, the PS Archive, and our annual year-ahead magazine.

https://prosyn.org/9kEA1H8;
  1. op_dervis1_Mikhail SvetlovGetty Images_PutinXiJinpingshakehands Mikhail Svetlov/Getty Images

    Cronies Everywhere

    Kemal Derviş

    Three recent books demonstrate that there are as many differences between crony-capitalist systems as there are similarities. And while deep-seated corruption is usually associated with autocracies like modern-day Russia, democracies have no reason to assume that they are immune.

    7