KC pediatrician's efforts saving lives across the world - KCTV5

KC pediatrician's grassroot efforts saves lives internationally

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A metro pediatric office is giving area families a way to give back through a campaign to collect money to give international families the same chance of survival as their own children.

Doctors at Pediatric Associates in Kansas City say about 90 percent of metro families support vaccines.

Every 20 seconds, a child dies from a disease that could be prevented with a safe and effective vaccine, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Millions of other children survive but are left severely disabled.

A shot can cause anyone at any age to be a bit fussy. Most parents deal with the tears now to save their little ones from a lot of suffering as they grow up.

"This day and age, you need to keep them healthy," parent Tom Riordan said.

The protection is a no-brainer for most parents at Pediatric Associates, but children across the world don't have the same access to these vaccines.

The office has partnered with Shot at Life, the UN Foundation striving to give children around the world immunizations.

"Vaccines are near and dear to our heart. We know that we can decrease mortality in children by vaccinating against diseases such as diarrhea and pneumonia and measles, and that's what Shot at Life does on a worldwide basis," Kevin Bergert said.

Shot at Life is also partnering with the Melinda and Bill Gates Foundation to wipe out polio.

The CDC reports that polio is 98 percent eradicated.

"And the only other disease that we've been able to do that with is smallpox. So imagine then, in our lifetime, we will be able to eradicate another disease that causes death and suffering and other children aren't going to experience that," Dr. Natasha Bergert said.

For the entire month of April, the office has asked for families to show their support for vaccines by sharing something that matters - their cash.

So far they have collected $1,500, which will be matched.

"One dollar will protect another child against measles with one measles vaccine, and for only $5, the amount of a latte, we can protect one child against measles and polio for their life," Bergert said.

The Riordans feel lucky their 4-month-old son, Murphy, has been healthy so far and want other children to have the same shot at a healthy life.

Wednesday kicks off World Immunization Week.  Others can give back by donating to ShotAtLife.org.

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