Mrs. Carter’s unwavering dedication to families and genuine care for our nation’s children has left an indelible mark on our society. Her decades of advocacy work to create widespread access to vaccines will ultimately save millions of lives.
In Loving Memory of Rosalynn Carter
When Mrs. Carter co-founded Every Child By Two (now known as Vaccinate Your Family) in 1991, a measles epidemic was raging that had sickened 55,000 people and killed over 120 here in the United States. Within two years, Rosalynn Carter and co-founder Betty Bumpers traveled to more than a dozen states – and ultimately to all 50 states – to foster immunization efforts and build immunization coalitions. It was on these trips that the access barriers to vaccines were uncovered and systemic changes were put into place to ensure that every child was immunized on time.
Carter and Bumpers’ work to bring attention to childhood vaccines at the federal level has been credited as the catalyst behind the Vaccines for Children (VFC) program, which provides access to free vaccines to our nation’s uninsured and underinsured children. Widespread access to childhood vaccines – thanks to the VFC program – will save more than 1 million lives of children vaccinated in the U.S. since the program’s launch in 1994.
Mrs. Carter and Mrs. Bumpers spent decades fighting for and implementing a bipartisan approach to vaccine policy, education, and access that focused on children and prioritized underserved families and communities. Their efforts to secure a Presidential Directive from the White House in 2000 ensures that the children and pregnant people served by WIC are offered immunization screenings and guided to services as needed.
In a 1995 update on the work of Every Child by Two, Mrs. Carter and Mrs. Bumpers said: “We must consider every possibility and look at every institution as a place in which to locate change for the better, change that will nourish our nation’s littlest human resources. We must seek out allies to help us reach the children, and provide the basic, necessary gift of life-protecting vaccinations.”
Today, Vaccinate Your Family continues our efforts to ensure the timely immunization of people of all ages by partnering with community-based organizations, offering education to Community Health Workers/Promotores, supporting policies that eliminate barriers to immunizations, and building alliances with partners who share in our mission.
Hear from our co-founders Rosalynn Carter and Betty Bumpers on how they joined forces to transform the health of a nation through immunizations.
Former First Lady Rosalynn Carter lived a life of service, and we are all better for it. The continued work of Vaccinate Your Family, together with our many wonderful partners who share in our vision of a nation protected against vaccine preventable diseases, honor our co-founder every day. It takes true collaboration to make change happen. Rosalynn was humbled by the magnitude of our combined efforts and our compassion. She never missed the opportunity to say “thank you” to our staff, our board of directors and the many public health partners who have been by our side for all these many decades.
Vaccinate Your Family mourns the loss of Rosalynn, while reaffirming our commitment to our mission to protect people of all ages from vaccine-preventable diseases.