Two UI students to advocate for child vaccines in Washington, D.C.

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photo courtesy of tribune news service

Influenza poses a far greater threat to Americans than the coronavirus from China made headlines around the world. Two University students will attend the ONE Power Summit to fight for vaccines in impoverished countries.

By Samantha Boyle, News Editor

Two University students will head to Washington, D.C. at the end of February to fight for vaccines for children in some of the poorest countries.

Megan Frentzel, sophomore in Education, and Patrick Quinn, sophomore in LAS, will be attending a three-day event, the ONE Power Summit, which is organized by The ONE Campaign, an organization campaigning to end extreme poverty and preventable diseases by 2030.

At the summit held at Gallaudet University, Frentzel, Quinn and other students will speak in front of Congress and lawmakers to ask them to support organizations like Gavi, the global health alliance, which helps vaccinate millions of children in developing countries.

Last year, 1.5 million people, including 600,000 children, died from vaccine-preventable diseases, the press release stated.

“People who are impoverished don’t have the opportunity to receive those vaccines,” Quinn said. “In the past months, we were focusing on the global funds, but now it’s (Gavi). So we’re focusing on that and trying to get them to support it.”

According to a ONE Campaign press release, the students received an invite by being a leader at one of the most active campus chapters nationwide.

Quinn and Frentzel started getting involved with volunteering at ONE events over the summer with events at Lollapalooza and a music festival at Northwestern University. Quinn said through these events, they were recognized and invited to go to Washington.

“I knew a lot of the volunteers were older, so getting involved was kinda fun,” Frentzel said. “So, getting invited was a really big deal, so we’re really excited.”

If Congress maintains a full commitment to Gavi, 300 million children would be vaccinated, and up to 8 million lives could be saved. Congress will be participating in its replenishment conference in June to discuss this possible outcome.

Neither Quinn nor Frentzel have spoken before Congress before, so both said they are nervous but also excited.

“If we can do it then people from other people from different states can do it and all kind of create a consensus that this is an important issue,” Quinn said.

As their involvement grows and their trip to Washington scheduled, Quinn and Frentzel are also in the process of starting an RSO for of student leaders regarding this global issue in which they are still looking for members and students interested.

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