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With the spread of the Ebola virus dominating headlines, it’s difficult not to consider what kind of death toll and costs epidemics like this bring. While the World Health Organization recently reported that an Ebola vaccine may become available in the near future, there is yet cause for concern; we are still failing to reach millions of people with vaccinations that were developed decades ago.

In the United States, we’re concerned about Ebola because a handful of cases have reached our shores. Can you fathom living in a nation where deaths from certain diseases far outpace Ebola, taking many thousands of children’s lives daily? Many of these deaths are already fully preventable with vaccination, like pneumococcal disease and rotavirus.

Gavi, the Vaccine Alliance, is the best tool for ensuring that new and underutilized vaccines are made available to everyone, everywhere. The U.S. has played a central part in ensuring the success of Gavi, and with continued investments, Gavi plans to vaccinate 300 million more children, saving 5-6 million lives — that’s 3 to 4 times the population of Idaho.

While the resolution of the Ebola epidemic remains unclear, we already have the capacity to give millions of children the chance to survive and thrive if we continue to invest in Gavi.

During a recent town hall event in Nampa, Senator Crapo voiced support for vaccinations because they allow us to do a whole lot of good for a relatively small amount of money. You can do your part by contacting your members of Congress and asking them to support a robust national pledge to Gavi.

* Veronica McDuffee, Nampa

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