Lights, Camera, ... Vaccines!

March 23, 2012
by Crickett Nicovich, Senior Policy Associate

Lights!  Camera! … Vaccines? That may not be your first thought, but at the Vaccines Film Festival hosted by the Center for Strategic and International Studies in Washington, DC this past week, that was the case. Shot@Life, the ONE campaign, the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, the GAVI Alliance, PATH, and Hollywood Health joined forces to showcase their short films that inspire action to improve child health by vaccinating kids around the world. I laughed, I cried, and I wanted to do something to save lives. Check out their inspiring videos below.

Shot@Life is a UN Foundation campaign promoting GAVI’s new rotavirus and pneumococcal vaccines and basic vaccines for polio and measles. Shot@Life has a superb media campaign to draw in new vaccine supporters and then they work to cultivate them into advocates by getting them to email members of Congress and hold community awareness events across the U.S. 

Don’t kids say the darndest things? That’s the premise for this great video by the ONE Campaign that talks about the need for better investment in foreign aid. This video highlights the fact that everyday Americans think we spend far more on foreign aid than we do. Why should we bother to help? Watch below to see what is working!

When this video came out from the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, it highlighted how easy it was to save lives by vaccinating children. Narrated by Bill Gates himself, the cartoon shows that cost-effective health interventions like immunizations strengthen health systems, eliminate disease, and increase overall health.

The next video is also a cartoon style short (a growing trend in the global health realm) on the GAVI Alliance. GAVI’s support to countries has contributed to averting more than five and a half million future deaths. This video was designed for GAVI’s historic pledging conference in June of 2011 where they were able to garner $4.3 billion for immunizations for the world’s poor over the next 5 years.

Another great NGO partner, PATH, showed a visually beautiful video about the power of immunization through the story of the new meningicoccal vaccine being introduced in an African community.

Hollywood, Health, and Society at USC closed the afternoon with clips of TV shows where they’ve been able to connect Hollywood writers to credible medical  professionals to weave in evidenced-based public health messaging into popular shows like the Bold and the Beautiful and Law and Order. Who knew soap operas could be such credible sources for information?

Hope you enjoy the films as much as I did. Using short films can captivate an audience at an education and outreach meeting, prepare people to take action, and build awareness for the general public and decision makers. Share the ones you like through Facebook, Twitter, and other social media outlets. Send them to aides that work on foreign affairs issues. Get the word out!

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