11 October 2021

Beyond smiles. How are you really?

What is mental health?, “Mental health is a part of physical health - we cannot afford to continue to view it as otherwise. For far too long, in rich and poor countries alike, we have seen too little understanding and too little investment in a critical element of maximizing every child’s potential. This needs to change.”    - Henrietta Fore, UNICEF Executive Director. …, What are the challenges?, “When we ignore the mental health of children, we undercut their capacity to learn, work, build meaningful relationships and contribute to the world. We should break the silence on mental health, promote understanding, take seriously the experiences of children and young people, and tackle stigma.” – Christina de Bruin, UNICEF Representative in…, Why is it important to change it?, The most common reason why teenagers in Bulgaria do not seek professional help when they have strong negative emotions is anxiety or shame (63% of the respondents) or not knowing where to look for help (17%), show the results from a survey of U-Report Bulgaria . To cope, most often young people try either not to supress their emotions (41%) or…, Our solution, Платформа в подкрепа на психичното здраве на децата и младежите у нас In order to support the children and teenagers in Bulgaria, together with our donors and partners, we plan to develop a 2-stage national programme to support adolescent mental health in the next 2 years: I. A s elf-care mobile app and online platform for teenagers, which aims to…, Our Partners, State institutions and international organisations: National Centre for Public Health and Analyses Ombudsman of the Republic of Bulgaria State Agency for Child Protection Ministry of Youth and Sports WHO Office in Bulgaria Non-governmental organisations: Roditeli Association  Child and Space Organisation Animus Association Foundation  Social…
04 October 2021

What you need to know about the Delta variant

People around the world are concerned about the highly-contagious Delta variant of COVID-19. We’ve gathered the latest expert information to answer some of the most common questions about this new variant and will continue to update this article as more information becomes available. For more tips and information on COVID-19, see our  COVID-19…, What is the Delta variant? , The Delta variant of COVID-19 has been called a variant of concern by WHO because of its high transmissibility. Where the Delta variant is identified, it quickly and efficiently spreads between people. As of 10 August, the Delta variant has been reported in 142 countries and is expected to continue spreading.    , Is the Delta variant more contagious? , Yes. The Delta variant is highly contagious, about twice as contagious as previous variants. However, the same precautions, such as avoiding crowded spaces, keeping your distance from others and mask wearing, still work against the Delta variant.    , Are the COVID-19 vaccines effective against the Delta variant?  , Yes. The WHO-approved COVID-19 vaccines continue to be highly effective at preventing severe illness and death, including against the Delta variant. When it’s your turn make sure to get vaccinated. If your vaccination involves two doses, it’s important to receive both in order to have the maximum protection.   The vaccines protect most people from…, Are children more likely to contract the Delta variant? , The Delta variant does not specifically target children. There are increased rates of infection across all age groups. However, the Delta variant is more contagious than other strains and people who are mixing socially and those who are unvaccinated are more susceptible to contracting the Delta variant.  Learn  how to talk to your child about…, How can I protect myself and my family against the Delta variant? , Keep updated on the level of COVID-19 transmission in your community and follow local guidance. In general, the higher the rate of transmission, the higher the risk of potential exposure in public settings. Here are some key ways to protect yourself and your loved ones:  Avoid crowded spaces and keep your distance from others.  Keep all indoor…, What is the Delta Plus variant? , The Delta Plus variant contains a new mutation in the spike protein the virus uses to enter human cells. Because it is closely linked to the Delta variant, it’s been called Delta Plus rather than another letter in the Greek alphabet. So far, Delta Plus has been found in relatively low numbers. 
20 July 2021

Q&A on vaccination and travel this summer

Am I safe to travel as soon as I’m vaccinated?, For 2-dose vaccines, the protection provided is only partial after the first dose, and time is needed – typically 2 weeks – before protection reaches its maximum level after the second dose. For a 1-dose vaccine, maximum protection against COVID-19 only kicks in a few weeks after having got the jab. But it’s important to stress that no vaccine…, What does “travel safely” mean?, We recommend that everyone get vaccinated with the recommended number of doses as soon as they are available to them. In addition, it is important to protect yourself and others from COVID-19 by following our simple but effective #SummerSense tips when travelling and when on holiday: measure your risks door to door clean your hands frequently keep…, Do people who have had COVID-19 need to get vaccinated before travelling? Have they not already developed sufficient immunity?, People who have previously been infected by COVID-19 still need to be vaccinated, whether travelling or not, although those with a current polymerase chain reaction (PCR)-confirmed COVID-19 infection should wait to be vaccinated until their sickness has passed and they have completed isolation requirements. A vast majority of people who are…, Should fully vaccinated people be concerned about the Delta variant in their own country or destination country?, Delta is the most transmissible of the variants detected so far, being twice as contagious as the original virus. Cases and hospitalizations from it are increasing in many countries around the world and it is becoming the dominant variant in a number of them. The good news is that most of the vaccines that we’re using in the world today seem to be…, Considering the many variants around the world that travellers may come into contact with and the various types of vaccines, would it be more effective to get 2 different vaccines for added protection?, Research is still ongoing as to the efficacy of mixing vaccines in 2 doses and what effect that might have on different variants. The important thing is that people get their approved vaccines as soon as they are offered to them, because being fully vaccinated provides optimal protection and helps reduce community transmission. The vaccines for…, What is the situation for travellers who have had a vaccine that is not approved for use in the destination country – can they still travel there?, It’s important that travellers check and follow the rules of the country they are travelling to. However, WHO believes that COVID-19 vaccination should not be a precondition for travel, because this could disadvantage those who do not yet have access to vaccination and could lead to even fewer vaccines being available for those who are considered…, Should pregnant women who need to travel get vaccinated?, Current evidence suggests that COVID-19 during pregnancy can put women at a higher risk of severe illness and increases the risk of babies being delivered prematurely. However, pregnant women were not included in initial trials of COVID-19 vaccines, so we have limited data on which to assess their safety for mother and baby. For this reason, we…, Is it okay for people who have been fully vaccinated to travel to see older or more vulnerable relatives and friends who have also had their vaccinations?, As I mentioned, vaccinated people can still become infected with the virus and may have no or only mild symptoms themselves. Vaccination reduces the risk but doesn’t fully prevent them from passing on the virus. You should therefore exercise caution when visiting older people and those with underlying health conditions – whether they are fully…, As a fully vaccinated person, is it a good idea to get tested for antibodies before travelling?, Antibody tests are not a comprehensive way to determine immunity and are therefore not recommended as a guide to whether it’s safe to travel or not. Different vaccines prompt different levels of antibody response, but they also stimulate another arm of the immune system called the T-cell immune response, which is not covered by the test. There are…, A larger proportion of children and young people are now becoming infected with COVID-19. Is it time to provide them with vaccines, particularly as families plan to go away on holiday?, Although children can catch and transmit COVID-19 infection, their risk of severe disease or death is up to 800 times lower compared to that of people aged 70 and above. For this reason, the focus should be on distributing vaccines equitably throughout the world and to priority groups first, before considering vaccinating children who do not have…, Some countries are getting ready for the possible supply of a booster shot within the year. Should I wait to get a booster before I travel?, There are limited data available on exactly how long protection from current doses lasts, and on whether an additional booster dose would be beneficial and for whom. Until we know more, there is no evidence to suggest that an additional booster shot is necessary before travelling. WHO/Europe launched its #SummerSense campaign to encourage everyone…