IVAC: What World Pneumonia Day Means To Us

IVAC: What World Pneumonia Day Means To Us

by Maria Knoll

The first World Pneumonia Day was held on my nephew’s birthday.  I called him from the event ceremony in NYC to let him hear people from all over the world who had gathered together to work to save children from this deadly disease. He was amazed to hear that many children around the world actually die from illnesses that are very familiar to him – those that start with a simple cough.

He was honored that his birthday would be shared with this effort to save children. And he was astounded to learn that millions of children would never live to be as old as he – he was only 7 years old that day. The world has too many parents and brothers and sisters who cry at birthdays because their son or daughter or sister or brother died before they could blow out their candles.

For future children, I send my birthday wishes for many, many happy returns. And through my efforts here at IVAC, I hope my gift of vaccines to prevent pneumonia arrives in time.


by Ashley Pickett

To me, World Pneumonia Day is a day to celebrate how far we’ve come in the three years since the first-ever World Pneumonia Day. I hope November 12th serves as a reminder that we should treat every day as an opportunity to spread the word about pneumonia’s impact and emphasize the important role of vaccines in preventing the number one killer of children worldwide.


by Matt Feldman

As a researcher working deep in the thicket of molecular biology and genetics, it was easy to lose sight of the very people that all the experiments and the analyses were designed to help. Caught up in the daily minutiae of science, looking for causes and cures, outcomes can seem elusive.

But as I have changed my role and focus to pneumonia, now participating in my first World Pneumonia Day, November 12th has offered me a chance to make a direct connection with the possible. The tools are available – the vaccines exist, the antibiotics are cheap and the outcomes are palpable. I’m energized by the extraordinary potential of what can be done, thrilled to be playing a role, and excited to see how much we can accomplish in the year ahead.


by Meghan Stack

Every year, World Pneumonia Day provides me with the opportunity to remind myself of the importance of our work and learn about the impact it has on real children.

As a researcher, you often only see numbers and statistics without faces and stories behind them. Although I have chosen my career path to save lives from diseases such as pneumonia, the impact is often hard to see.

November 12th connects me with people like myself all over the world, who are also fighting against pneumonia, and shows me the impact we are all having.


Authors are from the International Vaccine Access Center (IVAC) at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health. Photo of children of the Maasai tribe in Kenya by Ashley Pickett.