When Amanda Peet’s daughter, Molly, was just 8 months old, she contracted whooping cough, also known as pertussis. She had already received two of the three shots necessary to be fully immunized from this potentially fatal respiratory illness, which strikes 10,000 to 40,000 adults and children in the United States each year. For Peet, the situation was beyond terrifying. “She was sick–really, really sick–for six weeks,” she says (Molly, now 4, has fully recovered). The health scare reaffirmed Peet’s interest in advocating for vaccines around the world. She’d been vocal on behalf of smaller pro-vaccine organizations in the past but in 2012 was approached by the United Nations Foundation (UNF) to get even more involved. So last summer she traveled to kenya as an ambassador for their Shot@Life campaign, which offers free immunizations against illnesses such as measles, mumps, rubella (MMR) and polio. “Ever 20 second a child dies from a disease that could’ve been prevented by a vaccine that already exists,” says Peet.