COVID-19 response in East Asia and Pacific
Join and support UNICEF to protect children and families against COVID-19
The COVID-19 pandemic is taking an unprecedented toll on children and families.
There is abundant evidence that children bear a heavy burden resulting from disrupted essential services, increased social isolation, and loss of family income. Childhood immunization and other basic services in some countries have been put on hold; and school closures have led to a year of lost learning, making children more susceptible to dropping out.
Uncertainties have created family distress, which contributes to serious mental health issues, especially among children who are vulnerable to violence and abuse. The pandemic has deepened pre-existing vulnerabilities of children with disabilities and children living in poverty and in crisis.
Moreover, new COVID-19 cases are also rising among young children in many countries in this region. So, the need for solutions to combat the spread of the virus is immediate and urgent.
The Solution: How is UNICEF Helping
From delivering life-saving vaccines and health supplies, fighting misinformation on COVID-19 and vaccines, building water and hygiene facilities, to keeping girls and boys connected to education and protection, UNICEF is working to control the spread of COVID-19 and minimize its impact on children.
With the generous support of donors and partners, UNICEF is working with governments across the East Asia and Pacific region to protect children and their families from the pandemic and its devastating impacts. We are working with experts to promote facts over fears, bringing reliable guidance from experts from across the world to parents, caregivers and educators and building capacities of frontline workers to ensure that they have the information and resources to children protect against COVID-19 and its consequences.
Ensuring equitable access to COVID-19 vaccines
Working with CEPI, GAVI, WHO and other partners, UNICEF is leading efforts to procure and supply COVID-19 vaccines on behalf of COVAX. The COVAX Facility is part of a global effort aimed at accelerating the development and manufacture of COVID-19 vaccines, and to guarantee fair and equitable access to the vaccines around the world. Learn more about COVAX.
Together with national governments, international donors, and development partners, we are ensuring that safe and effective vaccines are distributed equitably and affordably for everyone across the world—not just those who can afford to pay for them. The virus does not adhere to borders, and neither can the vaccine.
No country will be safe from COVID-19 until all countries are protected.
Vaccinating the world against this disease represents the largest vaccine procurement and supply operation in history. UNICEF and partners, with generous support from our donors, are working around the clock to ensure that no country is left behind.
Fighting misinformation and ensuring COVID-19 vaccine acceptance
Misinformation during a health crisis leaves people unprotected and more vulnerable. That’s why UNICEF is working with global health experts to provide accurate and evidence-based information, latest updates, and explainers for parents, teachers, and communities with a particular focus on hard-to-reach areas and most vulnerable populations.
In collaboration with WHO, national governments, development partners, ethnic groups, community and religious leaders, media, and local and national influencers, and as part of the global Access to COVID-19 Tools Accelerator (ACT- A), UNICEF is ramping up COVID-19 risk communication and working on public service announcements.
These campaigns reiterate that vaccines are safe and effective, that they can help end the pandemic, and that it is essential that everyone gets vaccinated when it is their turn, while still practicing important behaviours such as wearing a mask, regularly washing hands with soap and water, and social distancing.
Do you have questions about COVID-19 and vaccines?
Advocate globally for vaccine donations to ensure equitable access
The world has a lot of COVID-19 vaccines, but currently less than one per cent of global supply is reaching people in low-income countries. While some countries are well on their way to vaccinating their entire adult population, other countries are struggling to access the vaccines to cover their healthcare workers and vulnerable populations, leading to deadly surges in COVID-19 cases. Dose donations are an immediate, short term, and urgent solution to improving equitable and fair access to safe and affordable COVID-19 vaccines.
UNICEF has called on well-supplied countries to #DonateDosesNow. In June 2021, UNICEF Ambassadors and supporters signed an open letter to G7 leaders calling on them to make these urgent donations immediately and to set out a roadmap to scale up donations as supplies increase.
Some more information about dose donations
Ensuring and strengthening essential services
UNICEF has been working towards strengthening the continuity of essential health and nutrition services and building capacities of health workers. These efforts have enabled parents and caregivers to access essential information and services during the pandemic on new-born care, breastfeeding, nutrition, and routine immunization.
The consequences of the ongoing pandemic have affected the education and learning of millions of children in the region. Together with governments and partners, we have been building capacities of teachers in delivering quality and inclusive education through digital learning for all children. Our support included developing and adapting inclusive high-quality teaching materials to local languages and providing technical support to improve the effectiveness and quality of distance learning. Depending on the country situations, UNICEF is also supporting governments to reopen schools safely, in line with approved international guidelines.
UNICEF has continued to prioritize the strengthening of child protection services and systems. During the pandemic, we have worked closely with social workers to better identify and respond to the needs of vulnerable children and families by creating better access to child protection services and mental health and psycho-social counselling.
But getting donated vaccines to the countries that need them is only half the job done. UNICEF is working closely with governments to strengthen countries’ health systems and capacity to get vaccines from entry ports to being administered to priority populations in a safe and timely manner.
UNICEF is advocating with international donors to provide additional support to low-income countries to cover costs for COVID-19 vaccine rollouts, without having to make cuts for other life-saving health programmes such as routine immunization.