07 February 2024

Protecting your child against measles, mumps and rubella

With the decline in vaccination during the COVID-19 pandemic, measles cases are rising in Europe and Central Asia. Children who have not been fully vaccinated with the MMR vaccine remain at the greatest risk of catching the measles virus that can lead to pneumonia, lifelong brain damage, hearing loss and even death. The vast majority of doctors…, What is measles?, Measles is a very contagious disease caused by a virus. It can spread to others when an infected person coughs or sneezes. Other people can become infected if they breathe the contaminated air or touch an infected surface and then touch their eyes, nose or mouth. The measles virus can live for up to two hours in the air. It is so contagious that…, What is mumps?, Mumps is a very contagious viral disease. We can catch it from an infected person who sneezes or coughs near us. It also spreads when an infected person touches their nose or mouth and then touches a surface someone else may touch. The symptoms are often mild and usually take a few days to appear. The most noticeable are swollen cheeks and neck…, What is rubella?, Rubella is a contagious viral infection. We can catch it when an infected person coughs or sneezes near us. It also spreads when we touch a surface that has been contaminated with the rubella virus by being touched by someone who is infected, and then touch our own eyes, mouth or nose. Rubella used to be called ‘German measles’, and some people…, What is the MMR vaccine?, The MMR vaccine protects our children from measles, mumps, and rubella (MMR). These diseases can cause severe harm and even death. That's why vaccination against them is so important to help our children grow up healthy and protected! The MMR vaccine has been used since the 1970s and has been given safely to more than 500 million children…, How is the MMR vaccine given?, A short needle under the skin is used to give a child the MMR vaccine. Our children should receive two doses of the MMR vaccine for the best possible protection against measles, mumps and rubella. The exact time of the MMR vaccine depends on your country’s vaccination schedule. The World Health Organization recommends that the first dose of the…, Can my child get the MMR and other vaccines if they are allergic to eggs?, Yes. Children with an egg allergy can still have the MMR (measles-mumps-rubella) vaccination. The vaccine contains only tiny amounts of egg protein and can even be given to children with a severe egg allergy, such as anaphylaxis (difficulty breathing, rapid heart rate, nausea or vomiting, loss of consciousness). As for any other vaccine, children…, Should I still immunize my child if they have already had measles, mumps or rubella?, We should still immunize our children against these diseases, even if they had one of the diseases in the past. The MMR vaccine protects our child against three diseases (measles, mumps and rubella) with the same injection. A previous infection with one disease cannot protect our child against all three of them. Remember: some diseases, including…, Does the MMR vaccine cause autism?, No. Many studies have shown that the MMR (measles-mumps-rubella) vaccine and other vaccines do not cause autism. The link between the MMR vaccine and autism is a myth that keeps circulating online, but it has been shown to be completely wrong by study after study. The MMR vaccine is safe and protects our children against measles, mumps and rubella…, What are the potential side effects of the MMR vaccine?, Like any other vaccine or medicine, the MMR (measles-mumps-rubella) vaccine can have some side effects, but they are mostly mild and temporary. The MMR vaccine is safe and effective, and protects our children against measles, mumps and rubella, which are dangerous diseases that can cause severe harm and even death. Serious adverse reactions to the…
15 June 2021

What you need to know before, during and after receiving a COVID-19 vaccine

Millions of people around the world have now been safely vaccinated against COVID-19, bringing us all one step closer to getting back to doing more of the things we enjoy with the people we love. For many the COVID-19 vaccines couldn’t come fast enough, but others understandably have questions about the vaccination process and what to expect when…, Before you go, Do your research. There’s a lot of misinformation about vaccines online, so it’s important to always get your information from trustworthy sources like UNICEF and WHO. If you have any questions about whether you should receive a COVID-19 vaccine, speak to your doctor. At present, people with the following health conditions should not receive a…, During the appointment, Stay safe. Make sure to follow safety precautions at the vaccination facility such as physical distancing while waiting and wearing a mask. Communicate. Let the health care professional know if you have any medical conditions that could be considered precautions, such as pregnancy or a compromised immune system. Keep your records. You should…, After you’ve been vaccinated, Stay for monitoring. The health care provider should observe you for about 15 minutes after the vaccine is administered to make sure you don’t have any immediate reactions. However, it is extremely rare for severe health reactions. Be prepared for some side effects. Vaccines are designed to give you immunity without the dangers of getting the…, Join our campaign!, Help spread the word that vaccines are safe and effective. This article was originally published on 23 April 2021 and will continue to be updated to reflect the latest information.
15 June 2021

What you need to know about COVID-19 vaccines

Vaccines save millions of lives each year. The development of safe and effective COVID-19 vaccines is a huge step forward in our global effort to end the pandemic and to get back to doing more of the things we enjoy with the people we love. We’ve gathered the latest expert information to answer some of the most common questions about COVID-19…, How do COVID-19 vaccines work?, Vaccines work by mimicking an infectious agent – viruses, bacteria or other microorganisms that can cause a disease. This ‘teaches’ our immune system to rapidly and effectively respond against it.  Traditionally, vaccines have done this by introducing a weakened form of an infectious agent that allows our immune system to build a memory of it.…, Are COVID-19 vaccines safe?, Yes, even though COVID-19 vaccines are being developed as rapidly as possible, they must go through rigorous testing in clinical trials to prove that they meet internationally agreed benchmarks for safety and effectiveness. Only if they meet these standards can a vaccine receive validation from WHO and national regulatory agencies. UNICEF will…, How were COVID-19 vaccines developed so quickly?, Thanks to the unprecedented investment in research and development and global cooperation, scientists were able to develop safe and effective vaccines against COVID-19 in record time. All the standard safety procedures and rigorous regulatory standards were maintained. In addition to the COVID-19 vaccines currently in use in many countries around…, Which COVID-19 vaccine is best for me?, All WHO-approved vaccines have been shown to be highly effective at protecting you against severe illness from COVID-19. The best vaccine to get is the one most readily available to you!, Will the COVID-19 vaccines work against the new variants?, WHO says that the vaccines approved to date are expected to provide at least some protection against new variants. Experts around the world are continuously studying how the new variants affect the behaviour of the virus, including any potential impact on the effectiveness of COVID-19 vaccines. Should any of the vaccines be shown to be less…, Who should be vaccinated first?, As there is not enough manufacturing capacity in 2021 to meet all global needs, not everyone will be able to get the vaccine at the same time. Countries must identify priority populations, which WHO recommends are frontline health workers (to protect health systems) and those at highest risk of death due to COVID-19, such as older adults and…, When shouldn’t you get a COVID-19 vaccine?, If you have any questions about whether you should receive a COVID-19 vaccine, speak to your doctor. At present, people with the following health conditions should not receive a COVID-19 vaccine to avoid any possible adverse effects: If you have a history of severe allergic reactions to any ingredients of a COVID-19 vaccine. If you are currently…, Should I get a vaccine if I’ve already had COVID-19?, Yes, you should get vaccinated even if you’ve previously had COVID-19. While people who recover from COVID-19 may develop some natural immunity to the virus, we do not yet know how long it lasts or how well you are protected. Vaccines offer more reliable protection., Can COVID-19 vaccines affect fertility?, No, you may have seen false claims on social media, but there is no evidence that any vaccine, including COVID-19 vaccines, can affect fertility in women or men. If you are currently trying to become pregnant, you do not need to avoid pregnancy after receiving a COVID-19 vaccine., When will a COVID-19 vaccine be available in my country?, The distribution of vaccines is underway globally and the vaccine availability varies by country. We recommend checking with your health ministry to get the latest information for your country. On behalf of the COVAX Facility, UNICEF is procuring COVID-19 vaccines and delivering them around the world to make sure no country is left behind. Our…, What is COVAX?, COVAX is part of a global effort aimed at accelerating the development and manufacture of COVID-19 vaccines, and to guarantee fair and equitable access around the world. No country will be safe from COVID-19 until all countries are protected. There are 190 countries and territories engaged in the COVAX Facility, which account for over 90 per cent…, I’ve seen inaccurate information online about COVID-19 vaccines. What should I do?, Sadly, there is a lot of inaccurate information online about the COVID-19 virus and vaccines. Misinformation in a health crisis can spread paranoia, fear and stigmatization. It can also result in people being left unprotected or more vulnerable to the virus. Get verified facts and advice from trusted sources like your local health authority, the…, Can COVID-19 vaccines affect your DNA?, No, none of the COVID-19 vaccines affect or interact with your DNA in any way. Messenger RNA, or mRNA, vaccines teach the cells how to make a protein that triggers an immune response inside the body. This response produces antibodies which keep you protected against the virus. mRNA is different from DNA and only stays inside the cell for about 72…, Do the COVID-19 vaccines contain any animal products in them?, No, none of the WHO-approved COVID-19 vaccines contain animal products., How can I protect my family until we all receive a COVID-19 vaccine?, Safe and effective vaccines are a gamechanger, but it is still not clear the degree to which they can protect us against infection and transmission. For the time being, even once vaccinated we need to continue taking precautions to protect ourselves and others. This includes wearing masks, physical distancing and regular handwashing. This article…
15 June 2021

How to talk to your friends and family about COVID-19 vaccines

Vaccines save 2 to 3 million lives each year and are amongst the greatest advances of modern medicine. The development of safe and effective COVID-19 vaccines is a huge step forward in our global effort to end the pandemic. This is exciting news, but there are still some people who are skeptical or hesitant about COVID-19 vaccines. Chances are you…, Do connect with their values., Even if you are feeling frustrated, it is important to be empathetic. “Make them feel heard,” advises Omer. Attempt to connect with their underlying sentiment. For example, if they are tired of being kept from doing the things they want to do because of COVID-19, connect with them on the fact that places they enjoy will begin to open up again if…, Don’t interrupt., Make sure not to cut off, speak over or jump into correcting your loved one. Listen to the person you are talking to and meet them where they are. “You shouldn’t agree with any false information, but you should empathize and continue the process rather than ending your relationship or ending the conversation,” says Omer.  , Do help them feel empowered., Right now, many people are scared. The pandemic has completely transformed our lives. Omer suggests giving your loved one an empowering message: You can do something about this disease. Remind them that they can help change their own trajectory and their loved ones’ trajectories in this pandemic by getting vaccinated. “[They] can do something…, Don’t focus on the myths., “Be careful about countering a misperception too directly,” says Omer. The discussion shouldn’t be all or mostly about addressing a specific myth because there will always be more myths that follow. Calling attention to a myth can also backfire by making the myth more memorable than the facts. But sometimes, you cannot get out of addressing…, Do assume they are going to get vaccinated., Simply say to your friend or family member, “Let’s go get vaccinated!” This method is called presumptive communication. “The announcement approach or presumptive approach has been shown to be successful in the clinic and is likely to work in personal communication,” says Omer. You’re not taking away someone’s autonomy, all you are doing is…, Don’t get discouraged., Convincing someone who is opposed to vaccines is a long process. “It’s extremely tough,” says Omer. Remember that for those who are strongly opposed to vaccines in general, their opinions will not likely be changed in one conversation. The important thing? “Maintain a connection with them.”, COVID-19 vaccines: Sorting fact from fiction, Interview and article by Mandy Rich, Digital Content Writer, UNICEF
14 June 2021

How to talk to your children about COVID-19 vaccines

News about COVID-19 vaccines is flooding our daily lives and it is only natural that curious young children will have questions – lots of them. Here are some tips for helping to explain what can be a complicated topic in simple and reassuring terms.  , 1. Make sure you’re up to date yourself, Before talking to your children about COVID-19 vaccines, it is important that you understand them yourself. A great place to start is our conversation with Dr. Mike Varshavski. >> What you need to know about COVID-19 vaccines  , 2. Ask and listen, Invite your child to share what they have heard about COVID-19 vaccines and listen to their responses. It is important to be fully engaged and take any fears they have seriously. Be patient, the pandemic and misinformation has caused a lot of worry and uncertainty for everyone. Let them know that they can always talk to you or another trusted…, 3. Be honest with them, Children have a right to know what is going on, but it should be explained to them in an age-appropriate way. Keep in mind that kids take their emotional cues from adults, so even if you are worried for your little one knowing that they might be uncomfortable, try not to overshare your fears with your child. Play can be a helpful tool for working…, 4. Answer their questions, Here are some kid-friendly responses to keep in your back pocket for questions your child may have about COVID-19 vaccines: What is a vaccine? A vaccine is like a shield that protects you from an illness. How do vaccines work? Vaccines teach your body how to fight off illnesses. They do that by putting a tiny piece of the germ that causes the…