RENEE MONTAGNE, HOST:
The Republican presidential debates where questions were raised about the way children are vaccinated have fueled another round of anxiety in the U.S. NPR's Nurith Aizenman reports on the world's poorest countries, where parents have a different set of worries.
NURITH AIZENMAN, BYLINE: Dr. Seth Berkley heads a global organization charged with vaccinating kids in the developing world. In the last 15 years, his group - it's called the Global Vaccine Alliance or GAVI - has immunized over half a billion more children. They've had to overcome a lot of obstacles, but he says they typically haven't had to deal with the kind of skepticism raised by Western parents.
SETH BERKLEY: Here, we've forgotten what these diseases do.
AIZENMAN: In poor countries, tens of thousands of children die each year from diseases, like measles.
BERKLEY: Parents see these diseases around them all the time. They see the consequences if you're not protected.
AIZENMAN: For Berkeley, the challenge is reaching kids with a newer set of vaccines that have to be given long after birth - the vaccine for HPV, one for malaria that's in development.
BERKLEY: When you move out to these outer age groups, how do you tell a parent that they need to bring their child in at age 2 or at age 9?
AIZENMAN: Still, he does worry the conversation in the U.S. could start to influence the developing world. Child mortality rates are high there. Kids can fall sick after a vaccination from unrelated causes. When parents want answers...
BERKLEY: What do people do everywhere in the world? They get on the Internet and look. And then all of a sudden, there's a sharing of misinformation.
AIZENMAN: So how do we keep those misconceptions from spreading to poor countries? That, he says, is something that keeps me up at night. Nurith Aizenman, NPR News.
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